Whether or not you smoke may be a factor in your child's custody determination. This is because you may expose your child to secondhand smoke, and custody is usually made based on the child's best interests. Here are some of the ways in which secondhand smoke may affect a child:
Kids who inhale secondhand smoke have a high risk of developing cognitive impairment, which means they are likely to have problems remembering things, learning, and making rational decisions. The more you smoke the more your child is likely to develop cognitive impairment.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is a sudden unexplained death of a young child. These are deaths that cannot be explained even after thorough autopsy and investigation. The exact cause of SIDS isn't known, but there exists a number of well-known risk or contributory factors, and secondhand smoking is one of them.
Respiratory problems have also been linked to secondhand smoke. Smoking in the presence of your kid will make them susceptible to diseases such as asthma, respiratory tract infection, and even lung disease, among others.
In short, your child's health will suffer if you expose them to secondhand smoking. When their health suffers, their education will also suffer due to increased absenteeism and difficulty in paying attention. This means you are also playing with your child's education if you regularly smoke around them. Therefore, don't be surprised if your smoking causes you to lose custody of the child.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to reduce the risks and limit the effect of your cigarette smoking on your child custody battle. Here are some of those measures:
- Don't smoke in the car while the child is a passenger; don't do it even with the windows cracked
- Don't smoke in the house
- If you must smoke in the house, do it in a single room (where the child shouldn't be) and open the windows for efficient ventilation
- Don't take the child to smoking zones such as barbecue parties where smoking is allowed
- Don't allow other people, such as visiting friends and relatives, to smoke in the child's presence
Exposing your child to the effects of secondhand smoke is not only bad for their health, but it can also affect your chances of getting custody of the child. Therefore, it's in your best interest to keep the smoke away from your child, and convince the court that you have done so; a child custody lawyer can help you with the latter.