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Should parents who smoke around their kids lose custody?

By June 27, 2016No Comments

By Gianna Huesch

In America, the subject of children’s passive smoking is coming up more and more often in custody disputes, with judges being asked to incorporate orders about smoking around the kids in an effort to better protect children from the risk of harm from second-hand smoke. In some extreme cases, parents have lost custody over the issue.

Smoking around kids is currently being discussed at a conference of family law experts from around the world taking place in Massachusetts in the US. The conference attendees are hearing proposals ranging from requiring emergency room doctors to file complaints of suspected child abuse against parents whose children arrive in hospital in respiratory distress because of their parents’ smoking, to outright challenging the custody of primary carers who smoke around the children.

Attendees will learn how to “effectively raise the issue of parental smoking in custody proceedings and how to either prohibit smoking indoors at least 48 hours before the child arrives, or to deny child custody to the smoking parents”.

Here in Australia, parenting agreements sometimes do incorporate clauses relating to smoking, similar to how parents insert clauses limiting each other’s alcohol usage while the children are in that parent’s care.  To discuss what type of clauses can be included in a parenting agreement, please give Cristina Huesch or one of our solicitors here at Alliance Family Law a call on (02) 6223 2400.

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