Smoking Habits a Factor in Virginia Child Custody Cases

Posted on Aug 8, 2012 by Hofheimer Family Law

There’s a lot that goes into making a decision in a Virginia child custody case. If you’re getting divorced and you have kids, you should be aware of all the factors that can affect your case.

In recent years, attorneys have been seeing more cases in which parents’ smoking affects a child custody case. The standard for child custody regards the best interests of the child. This standard looks at a number of factors to determine which parent’s household is a better fit for the child. While smoking is a common habit, it has a definite effect on a child’s short and long-term health, so it needs to be taken into consideration when looking at both households.

Most adults today remember a time when smoking was “no big deal.” People smoked in cars, restaurants, airplanes and most other public places. There was also little or no worry attached to smoking in the presence of children.

Over the last 20 years, people have become more aware of the dangers of smoking. This new awareness, based on years of medical research and public service campaigns, have led to laws and regulations around the use of cigarettes in public places. Whether you think these laws are fair or not, it’s hard to deny the science behind protecting children from secondhand smoke.

Studies have shown that secondhand smoke can have most of the same effects as firsthand smoke, including cancer and lung disease. It can exacerbate certain health conditions like asthma, sinus problems, and ear infections. It’s also been pointed out as a culprit in Sudden infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

When you’re getting a divorce and a court takes a parent’s health and living habits into consideration, smoking may very well come up as a concern. This is especially true if the non-smoking parent brings it up as one of the issues with the other parent’s home and lifestyle. There have been cases where a court has ordered that there be no smoking in a home for 48 hours prior to the child’s arrival. Existing child custody orders can be modified because a parent exposes the child to excessive cigarette smoke.

Smoking is a difficult habit to break. Many people struggle with quitting, suffering multiple setbacks before they can finally overcome their addiction. Whether you’re the smoking or non-smoking parent in your Virginia child custody case, you should speak with your attorney about your concerns regarding smoking.

Contacting a Virginia Child Custody Attorney

At Hofheimer Family Law Firm, we understand that the health and happiness of your children are your top concern. We will work with you to address any fears and anxieties you may have about your children’s future. Our women’s-only divorce attorneys will guide you every step of the way to ensure that you achieve the best possible child custody and child support arrangements for you and your children.

To learn more about your Virginia divorce, request a free copy of our guide, What Every Virginia Woman Should Know About Divorce, or reserve your seat at our monthly divorce seminar – 757-425-5200.