Menu
The Siemon Law Firm
Honest Answers.
866-497-5134
View Practice Areas

Smoking an emergent factor in many child custody cases

Commentators on child custody sometimes cite a Georgia case from 1998 to show the changing parameters of factors that are being judicially considered in custody matters.

In that case, a woman was awarded full custody of her daughter following divorce. The woman and her boyfriend smoked, and the young girl subsequently developed asthma, necessitating medical attention on several occasions. A trial court found that the couple's continued smoking implied a lack of sufficient concern for the child. An appellate court agreed, and the girl's father was awarded custody.

A decade-plus later, smoking is much more recognized as a factor to be commonly considered in custody decisions. In fact, a judge in a recent law article states the "inescapable conclusion" that a court anywhere in the United States that fails to issue orders forbidding smoking in the presence of children under the court's care "fails those children whom the law has entrusted to its care."

Indeed, that view seems to have picked up steam in recent years. In cases from at least 18 states, courts have ruled that smoking in the presence of a child should be a factor in determining custody. Court orders in many thousands of cases across the country have banned smoking around children, and in many more instances courts have considered the smoking habits of persons other than the parents (grandparents, caregivers, friends and so forth) who will likely have substantial contact with a child or children.

Critics, of course, can argue the slippery slope in this, noting that, if smoking is a factor in custody matters, what will be next? Swearing around a child? Watching too much television? Drinking too much soda?

In fact, those things have been argued in court, and have factored in on various occasions. Smoking, though, seems particularly well entrenched as a factor that courts now weigh routinely among others in custody determinations.

Source: The Washington Times, "Smokers losing child custody cases a growing trend," Myra Fleischer, Feb. 21, 2012

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Contact our Georgia Family Law Firm by calling 866-497-5134 or by completing this contact form. An attorney will respond within 24 business hours.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

347 Dahlonega Street, Building 100
Cumming, GA 30040
Toll Free: 866-497-5134
Phone: 770-888-5120
Fax: 770-521-4317
Cumming Law Office Map

4555 Mansell Road, Suite 300, #28
Alpharetta, GA 30022
Phone: 770-521-4316
Fax: 770-521-4317
Alpharetta Law Office Map

3348 Peachtree Road Northeast, Suite 700, #721
Tower Place 200
Atlanta, GA 30326
Phone: 678-954-4917
Fax: 770-521-4317
Atlanta Law Office Map