Smokers and child custody in Texas

The harmful health effects of smoking are widely known in Texas. Smoking causes cancer, premature aging and is bad for those surrounding a smoker. For some, these possibilities and the Surgeon General's warning just are not scary enough to kick the habit. But, for smokers in Texas that seek child custody, a new trend may be enough to scare them of the habit.

Increasingly, smoking is a factor being considered when deciding which of a parent will gain custody of children. In at least 18 states, courts have ruled that exposing a child to tobacco smoke is cause for consideration in custody proceedings.

Furthermore, parents that smoke have had their visitation rights reduced and courts have ordered that some parents must not smoke for 24 hours, or even 48 hours in some cases, inside before their child arrives to stay.

If a resident of Texas is seeking custody of their child and they are a smoker, they would do well to heed warning. Many judges are skeptical that a parent that has quit during or shortly before a custody hearing will continue a smoke-free lifestyle. However, there are things that a smoker can do to improve their odds.

An individual seeking custody of their child should never smoke inside, never smoke in a vehicle and be sure to never allow others to smoke around the child -- particularly if the child has a respiratory condition. Furthermore, if a parent in Texas is seeking custody of their child and is a smoker, they would do well to consult with experienced legal counsel.

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

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