Secondhand Smoke and Your Child Custody Case

Did you know that if you are a habitual smoker, it could severely affect your ability to obtain custody of your children during divorce. The California courts are always most concerned with what is in the "best interests" of any child that is being fought over in a divorce situation. The courts will evaluate the health, age, emotional stability and overall "fitness" of each parent as they make their decision. The courts may also look whether or not a parent has dangerous habits such as drug use, alcoholism, or smoking. While smoking is not illegal, the secondhand smoke has been known to damage children's lungs and make them susceptible to other illnesses in the future.

Oftentimes, the courts will do what they can to keep children out of an environment that includes secondhand smoke. This is because secondhand smoke is considered a Class A carcinogen and contains more than 30 substances that are known to cause cancer or damage human tissues and organs. Children that are exposed to passive smoking often have reduced pulmonary functioning and their lung growth is severely hindered. In families where both parents smoke, children have significantly more respiratory infections and are more likely to be hospitalized during the first two years of their lives for serious lung problems. They are also more likely to have reduced lunch functioning.

In addition to these health concerns, children that live in homes with prevalent secondhand smoke are more likely to develop asthma. This can also heighten the possibility of an asthma attack for a child that already has asthma. If you are concerned that your smoking habits may jeopardize your ability to keep your child, talk with an attorney right away. A skilled San Fernando divorce lawyer may be able to help walk you through the process and show you what you need to do to present a legitimate case when seeking primary custody.