If your divorce is due to adultery, you may have questions or concerns about how that may impact your current legal disputes with your spouse. As you are likely aware, adultery does not tend to impact property division matters unless a prenuptial agreement, an at-fault process, or other special circumstances apply to your case specifically. What about child custody, though? There are certain circumstances that child custody could be affected by adultery, but these circumstances are quite rare. Nevertheless, it may benefit you to speak with a skilled child custody lawyer, such as a child custody lawyer in Rockville, MD, about your particular situation as they can advise you after understanding your unique family challenges. When preparing for a consultation, please keep the “best interests of the child” standard in mind.
The “Best Interests of the Child” Standard
American family law judges are required to determine child custody orders according to the “best interests of the child” standard. The intentions of this standard are reasonable and noble, but are not uniformly enforced. The best interests of every child are not the same and not every judge’s perception of what constitutes a child’s best interest is the same. As a result, this standard is not applied the same way in every case.
When a parent has committed adultery, it usually does not factor into child custody determinations because it rarely illustrates that a parent is incapable of properly caring for his or her child. However, the particular circumstances surrounding an extramarital affair may demonstrate that a parent has especially poor judgment or otherwise disregard his or her child’s best interest. For example, if the child was aware of the affair and the parent repeatedly told the child to lie about their whereabouts, this decision could prove problematic. Similarly, if the parent threatened the child as a result of his or her knowledge, this could be perceived by a judge as an indicator that the parent is far more concerned about his or her personal well-being than about the wellbeing of the child who has been affected by the affair.
Divorce and Child Custody Guidance Is Available
If you have questions about child custody determinations, please do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with a reputable firm. Every family’s circumstances are unique, so it is important to seek legal guidance related to your specific situation. Although the best interests of the child standard applies uniformly to child custody determinations, that standard is somewhat subjective when applied by individual judges. Once you speak with an attorney and they are better able to understand the details of your family’s circumstances, they will be able to advise you on how that standard may be applied to your situation in particular. Although consulting with a firm and asking questions does not obligate you to take any legal action, if you require support at this time they can also address any concerns you may have about securing representation.
Thanks to the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into how adultery can impact a child custody case.