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Smoking Could Affect Your New Jersey Child Custody Case

May 7, 2012 | Posted In Family Law - Custody

New Jersey custodial parents who smoke could find that this unhealthy practice may affect the results of their child custody hearings.  In fact, New Jersey family lawyers are seeing a rising number of child custody lawsuits around the country linked to smoking.  Courts are increasingly factoring in cigarette smoking when they make decisions about who gains custody of the child.

Laws governing smoking in child custody matters vary by state.  Eighteen states, including New Jersey, currently allow courts to factor in parental smoking in deciding which parent gains custody.  New Jersey family lawyers point out that no court in the country has ruled that parental smoking should be disregarded in determining child custody. 

Over the past decade, much research has been conducted on the effects of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) on child health.  Environmental tobacco smoke is believed to have an adverse health impact on children. Research has found that children who are frequently exposed to secondhand smoke have a much higher risk of developing lower and upper respiratory tract infections.  They also have a much higher risk of frequent asthma attacks than children who are not exposed to secondhand smoke.

In New Jersey, the laws governing smoking and child custody are not well defined.  However, a court that is asked to consider parental smoking before it renders a decision on child custody will likely to consider two factors: whether the child suffers from a medical problem, and whether there is evidence that the medical problem is linked to or aggravated by parental smoking.

The New Jersey family lawyers at Helmer Paul Conley and Kasselman represent persons in divorce, child custody, child support and other family law-related matters across New Jersey.

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