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Separation, divorce, adultery, custody issues


mom@shiloh
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It sounds like a soap opera, doesn't it?

 

A friend of ours is going through this.  His wife wants a divorce and they need to work out custody issues.  Wife is still living in the home, but obviously carrying on an affair.  I think he should do some detective work, get physical evidence of the affair and use that in his favor with custody issues.  But maybe I'm living in the dark ages and judges don't care about that anymore.  Thoughts from the Hive?  

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Unless there is some legitimate concern that her behavior makes her a bad mother or dangerous to the kids, having an affair isn't likely to affect a judge's decision regarding custody. The legal premise, as I understand it, is that children have a right to have a relationship with their parents, not that parenting rights are a reward for good behavior.

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Agreeing with Jenny. The affair, if there is one, would only have bearing on the divorce case not the custody case. Many times the divorce and custody are separate issues. Having an extra-marital affair does not automatically mean unfit parenting.

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My parents tried to us custody of me as a weapon against each other to punish each other for their perceived bad behavior.

 

Don't ever do this. The one you end up hurting is the kid.

 

Just because the husband is hurt and angry does not give him the right to try to screw with his child's relationship with the mother.

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My parents tried to us custody of me as a weapon against each other to punish each other for their perceived bad behavior.

 

Don't ever do this. The one you end up hurting is the kid.

 

Just because the husband is hurt and angry does not give him the right to try to screw with his child's relationship with the mother.

I'm sorry you went through that, but I don't know what it has to do with the OP. There was no indication at all that the man was planning to do that.

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I guess it would also depend on what exactly he wants. Is he okay with his ex having full custody and he have visitation rights? Does he want joint custody, maybe both legal and physical? Does he want full custody? He needs to work with his attorney to pursue what he wants. I suppose his attorney can use the ex's affair in the negotiation process for what custody your friend wants, but I doubt she would give in without a fight if she wants custody herself. It could get ugly.

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My brother's ex-wives had multiple affairs. He had emails (she used his computer when communicating with her boyfriends somehow thinking she would never get caught - He was a project manager for the computer services company EDS at the time! :huh: ), and his teenage son had answered phone calls from her boyfriends who openly admitted their relationship to him, as well as pics of her making out "IN THE DRIVEWAY" late one night with the last boyfriend. She was the one that filed for divorce based on "irreconcilable differences" and my brother counter sued for adultery. One of the boyfriends was also on the registered s*x offenders list.

 

It.meant.nothing.to.the.family.court. Not even the fact that she had left the three year old with the perv.

 

He wanted full custody. He got 50/50. Two of the children had terrible asthma and she was a smoker, but the judge said he couldn't even order her not to smoke around the kids or make that an issue for losing custodial rights despite the three hospitalizations of the youngest the first year. D had never let her smoke in the house or in the mini-van...one of her big beefs with him. But, that had really helped the younger two stay healthy. Once she was in her own place, she smoked around them all the time, and they were constantly sick. He even had statements from their pediatrician stating that the children's health was tanking from living with her 50% of the time, but that still did not mean a blasted thing to the court. The children really suffered. It was of no consequence; parent rights trumped the child's right to a safe and healthy environment every.single.time.

 

He isn't going to get anywhere with this unless she does something really appalling like drinking and driving with the kids in the car AND gets caught, takes them with her on a drug deal, or uses them as lookouts while she knocks over the liquor store. If she doesn't end up with at least a night in jail over something, the court just isn't going to care.

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Guess I live in the dark ages and my moral code is outdated; I consider having an affair as providing a poor example to one's kids, and therefore bad parenting. Guess it doesn't matter nowadays.

Family law court is not intended to be a moral arbiter. Whose definition of morals would they arbitrate?

 

Family law courts, in general in the US, seek to maximize the involvement of both parents and it takes a LOT to restrict that. One of the hardest lessons I learned during my own custody battle was that MARITAL issues were unrelated in the courts eyes to the best interest of the kids.

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Agreeing with Jenny. The affair, if there is one, would only have bearing on the divorce case not the custody case. Many times the divorce and custody are separate issues. Having an extra-marital affair does not automatically mean unfit parenting.

States are different and jurisdictions are different with in states. In my case, in AR, my xhs affairs did not affect property division but it did very much affect custody. I got full custody with less than full visitation awarded to my xh.

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My brother's ex-wives had multiple affairs. He had emails (she used his computer when communicating with her boyfriends somehow thinking she would never get caught - He was a project manager for the computer services company EDS at the time! :huh: ), and his teenage son had answered phone calls from her boyfriends who openly admitted their relationship to him, as well as pics of her making out "IN THE DRIVEWAY" late one night with the last boyfriend. She was the one that filed for divorce based on "irreconcilable differences" and my brother counter sued for adultery. One of the boyfriends was also on the registered s*x offenders list.

 

It.meant.nothing.to.the.family.court. Not even the fact that she had left the three year old with the perv.

 

He wanted full custody. He got 50/50. Two of the children had terrible asthma and she was a smoker, but the judge said he couldn't even order her not to smoke around the kids or make that an issue for losing custodial rights despite the three hospitalizations of the youngest the first year. D had never let her smoke in the house or in the mini-van...one of her big beefs with him. But, that had really helped the younger two stay healthy. Once she was in her own place, she smoked around them all the time, and they were constantly sick. He even had statements from their pediatrician stating that the children's health was tanking from living with her 50% of the time, but that still did not mean a blasted thing to the court. The children really suffered. It was of no consequence; parent rights trumped the child's right to a safe and healthy environment every.single.time.

 

He isn't going to get anywhere with this unless she does something really appalling like drinking and driving with the kids in the car AND gets caught, takes them with her on a drug deal, or uses them as lookouts while she knocks over the liquor store. If she doesn't end up with at least a night in jail over something, the court just isn't going to care.

I have seen this p,yard out just this way many times BUT depending on the judge that kind of poor parenting can definitely affect custody.

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It sounds like a soap opera, doesn't it?

 

A friend of ours is going through this. His wife wants a divorce and they need to work out custody issues. Wife is still living in the home, but obviously carrying on an affair. I think he should do some detective work, get physical evidence of the affair and use that in his favor with custody issues. But maybe I'm living in the dark ages and judges don't care about that anymore. Thoughts from the Hive?

Do you know why he left the home? Did he do it before or after divorced was filed?

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I have seen this p,yard out just this way many times BUT depending on the judge that kind of poor parenting can definitely affect custody.

Often the cheated on spouse seeks to gain custody and limit visitation out of hurt, anger, and revenge. I know that was part of my motive in the early years of my battle.

 

In the end, and with some distance (and professional training), I have come to a different conclusion. It does not serve my kids to malign my xh, seek to minimize his role with the kids or limit parenting. OMG; I NEVER would have thought I ever would have posted that. There is a lsit of a dozen valid reasons he's a horse's ass. But he is their Dad. I wish I had spent the time, energy, and money facilitating stability and co parenting the the best of our ability.

 

To the OP, the marriage ended. The parenting did not. Mom"s behavior is being evaluated through a biased and agendized lens. It won't help the kids in any way.

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States are different and jurisdictions are different with in states. In my case, in AR, my xhs affairs did not affect property division but it did very much affect custody. I got full custody with less than full visitation awarded to my xh.

 

Yeah for Arkansas!

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Often the cheated on spouse seeks to gain custody and limit visitation out of hurt, anger, and revenge. I know that was part of my motive in the early years of my battle.

 

In the end, and with some distance (and professional training), I have come to a different conclusion. It does not serve my kids to malign my xh, seek to minimize his role with the kids or limit parenting. OMG; I NEVER would have thought I ever would have posted that. There is a lsit of a dozen valid reasons he's a horse's ass. But he is their Dad. I wish I had spent the time, energy, and money facilitating stability and co parenting the the best of our ability.

 

To the OP, the marriage ended. The parenting did not. Mom"s behavior is being evaluated through a biased and agendized lens. It won't help the kids in any way.

I agree time and distance from a bad marriage has softened my approach to co parenting....but it doesn't have to be either or....all or nothing. My xh was in a horrible place at that time....multiple affairs, lots of porn, lying to everyone. His parenting skills were absolutely impaired. He is better now and things are better.

 

That is the trouble with getting the courts involved in families.....they do not have the ability to see all there is to see. But that is what happens when families break down. Sad.

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Custody and visitation are different things, aren't they? I favor both parents having visitation, but generally only one parent having legal custody. I've seen joint custody do some real damage to kids. My brother is a prime case- he was carrying on two affairs at the same time and was awarded joint custody of his now ten year old son (Divorce was when the boy was 3).  He has since married one of the women he was having an affair with.  He's used his joint custody to torment my former sister in law (who is no saint herself). They have equal say in the school he attends, the doctors he visits, the extracurricular activities he does...and so on. The mom wanted the kid to have counseling and brother dear fought it tooth and nail. She wanted him to take karate but brother dear didn't. Money is not an issue at all, so it's not that.  But my poor nephew is so wounded- every 4 days he switches houses. He needs counseling but the judge says unless they both agree, he doesn't have to have it.  

 

I've also seen one parent having custody but the other getting well defined visitation rights.  Not that there aren't problems, but saying that the noncustodial parent has 'full visitation rights' isn't as good as 'every 1st and 3rd weekend from 6 PM Friday until 6 PM Sunday, every Wednesday evening, etc."

 

I know I'm from the dark ages and that things have changed quite a bit, but I'm seeing so many joint custody situations turn ugly and end up in court time and time again.   Kids need both parents and even if a parent is having an affair, the kid still needs a relationship with the parent.  

 

I feel for the kid in the situation the OP described. 

 

 

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Custody and visitation are different things, aren't they? I favor both parents having visitation, but generally only one parent having legal custody. I've seen joint custody do some real damage to kids. My brother is a prime case- he was carrying on two affairs at the same time and was awarded joint custody of his now ten year old son (Divorce was when the boy was 3). He has since married one of the women he was having an affair with. He's used his joint custody to torment my former sister in law (who is no saint herself). They have equal say in the school he attends, the doctors he visits, the extracurricular activities he does...and so on. The mom wanted the kid to have counseling and brother dear fought it tooth and nail. She wanted him to take karate but brother dear didn't. Money is not an issue at all, so it's not that. But my poor nephew is so wounded- every 4 days he switches houses. He needs counseling but the judge says unless they both agree, he doesn't have to have it.

 

I've also seen one parent having custody but the other getting well defined visitation rights. Not that there aren't problems, but saying that the noncustodial parent has 'full visitation rights' isn't as good as 'every 1st and 3rd weekend from 6 PM Friday until 6 PM Sunday, every Wednesday evening, etc."

 

I know I'm from the dark ages and that things have changed quite a bit, but I'm seeing so many joint custody situations turn ugly and end up in court time and time again. Kids need both parents and even if a parent is having an affair, the kid still needs a relationship with the parent.

 

I feel for the kid in the situation the OP described.

Also I think joint custody means different things in different jurisdictions.....my dh has joint custody, but it really means NOTHING. We had an attorney tell us just the other day that since xh has the boys most of the time, she gets to decide. D has tried and tried to get them to doctors, dentists and counselors....she refuses. He can take them himself but when you get them for 2 weekends a month and the boys live 1 1/2 away it is almost impossible.

 

I have sole custody. I am sooo glad. In AR that means I get to decide religious training, educational decisions and medical decisions. Xh has a right to all information about those decisions and if I got crazy he could take me back to court....but mostly I get to decide.

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Thanks- it didn't occur to me that joint custody could mean different things in other areas.  The ways yours is laid out sounds like a good plan for kids- one parent who has final say in a decision but the obligation to keep the other parent informed.   

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Thanks- it didn't occur to me that joint custody could mean different things in other areas. The ways yours is laid out sounds like a good plan for kids- one parent who has final say in a decision but the obligation to keep the other parent informed.

It works well for us because my xh and I are now to a place post divorce where he believes that I am a wonderful mother and he trusts me completely. He thanks me often for taking such good care of our son. I also feel I am reasonable toward him. I could do a lot of mean things to make life hard on xh and thus hard on ds. There is very little he could do.

 

In my dh's case, not only is she a very inadequate mother she tells dh nothing about what is going n and she and her husband have gone to great lengths to alienate the oldest boy from dh. It is horrible. There is NOTHING dh can really do.

 

That is the nature of divorce.....some are tolerable and some are horrible. It takes two reasonable people to make it tolerable. That cannot be legislated or enforced.

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Guess I live in the dark ages and my moral code is outdated; I consider having an affair as providing a poor example to one's kids, and therefore bad parenting. Guess it doesn't matter nowadays.

So, a spouse that has an affair shouldn't get to see their kids? What about a spouse that doesn't pay child support? Should the kids be withheld? Do you really think that is putting the needs of the kids first or just punishing the "bad guy"?
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So, a spouse that has an affair shouldn't get to see their kids? What about a spouse that doesn't pay child support? Should the kids be withheld? Do you really think that is putting the needs of the kids first or just punishing the "bad guy"?

I don't believe affairs or non support, or addictions or abuse should prevent kids from seeing their parent but I certainly believe it should affect who gets custody, who gets to make decisions for the child and how much time and under what conditions the child is with said parent.

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Often the cheated on spouse seeks to gain custody and limit visitation out of hurt, anger, and revenge. I know that was part of my motive in the early years of my battle.

 

In the end, and with some distance (and professional training), I have come to a different conclusion. It does not serve my kids to malign my xh, seek to minimize his role with the kids or limit parenting. OMG; I NEVER would have thought I ever would have posted that. There is a lsit of a dozen valid reasons he's a horse's ass. But he is their Dad. I wish I had spent the time, energy, and money facilitating stability and co parenting the the best of our ability.

 

 

I have a slightly different perspective. My ex was definitely a horse's ass - and many of those reasons made him poor "father material." Initially, I spent time & energy facilitating his relationship with my daughter and he just dropped the ball. I finally gave him a choice  - in or out, and he chose out. My parents hired a lawyer to draw up custody/visitation paperwork and he agreed to give up custody and visitation rights. He would have given up parental rights, but my lawyer advised me it wasn't even worth trying since no judge would have terminated child support. When I married my dh, my ex gave up parental right and my dh adopted my dd.

 

Anyway, over the years I have questioned if I should have done more, but my daughter has grown up without the ex's drama, and I believe that is a gift to her. She has no animosity towards him and only a little curiosity - and I think that is only possible since he wasn't a thorn in our sides over the years. It would have been different if he had actually wanted to raise her - then I would have bent over backwards to help that happen as long as he was half-decent. Actually there was a brief time when he asked to be involved, and I gladly made that happen until it was clear that he was still completely messed up. When dd was about 10, I attempted to contact him about meeting her and he refused. Overall, I am glad he wasn't involved, because he wasn't half-decent and he would have done more harm than good by being in the picture.

 

Anyway, my point is that it can be argued that no involvement is better than drama caused by a poor father (and I make no judgments about whether the guy in the OP's thread is a poor father).

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Just want to clarify that the dh is also still living in the home and will be remaining there.  The wife wants out and will be the one to leave.  

 

He's not planning to use the affair to completely remove the kids from their mom, however he has serious reservations about the boyfriend and is worried about his children's exposure to the guy.  

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Just want to clarify that the dh is also still living in the home and will be remaining there. The wife wants out and will be the one to leave.

 

He's not planning to use the affair to completely remove the kids from their mom, however he has serious reservations about the boyfriend and is worried about his children's exposure to the guy.

I would suggest he hire a PI to fully investigate the boyfriend. You never know what you might find.

 

He might get her to agree to give him custody of the kids with limited visitation to the mom. Often people in affairs are so caught up in it they will agree to do things they normally never would. It is similar to an addiction. At the very least ifi were him I would not agree to less than half time with his kids. And ask her to put safeguards in place about other men being involved in the kids life.

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 I'm seeing so many joint custody situations turn ugly and end up in court time and time again.  

 

Remember, though, we tend to see and notice the ones that turn ugly. Joint custody, or any custody arrangement really, that's going smoothly doesn't really even prompt people to ask or to share about custody arrangements.

 

My ex and I share (for 1 more week, which is when my dd turns 18) joint custody, and have gotten along swimmingly. The people around us who aren't quite close probably have no idea what the custody arrangement is. I don't think we're the exception to a rule, as that's the case for many split/blended families that I know. We're just less likely to make it on someone's radar as an example of joint custody because there's not a lot of "noise" about custody so it doesn't attract attention.

 

Cat

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My step dd's mother was in violation of probation for assaulting someone and she was still allowed visitation. We already had custody due to the drug use that resulted in her being on probation to begin with. It is unlikely a judge will care about the adultery regarding custody, but a judge might care about it as they award marital property, so it might be worth it to gain proof. An attorney will know if he needs proof or not to get a better deal in the divorce. A person in this position MUST get a lawyer. No amount of well meaning advice substitutes for a lawyer who has been practicing law in front of the judges that will be presiding.

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Whether or not an extramarital affair is to be considered by the judge in a custody case varies from state to state AND judge to judge. Some of the judges I practice before could care less; to others, it matters.

 

The question is how seriously the father wants full custody or if he's willing to have joint physical custody or if he wants mom to have custody. If mom's affair happened in the presence of the children, a good attorney could use that information to call her judgment as a parent into question. Ultimately, it depends on dad's custodial intentions and whether or not the court cares about the affair. I've seen so many dads in this situation who eventually decide, for whatever reason (whether it be they don't want to tear mom down or they REALLY can't handle the idea of having primary custody, etc.) they let the affair go, claim irreconcilable differences for divorce grounds, and go about their merry way.

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This report on child abuse and neglect is very interesting.

"Children living with their married biological parents universally had the lowest rate, whereas those living with a single parent who had a cohabiting partner in the household had the highest rate in all maltreatment categories. Compared to children living with married biological parents, those whose single parent had a live-in partner had more than 8 times the rate of maltreatment overall, over 10 times the rate of abuse, and nearly 8 times the rate of neglect."

 

If the judge has any leeway and any intelligence, I would hope that this government funded report to Congress would clarify some things. As a society, we might like to pretend that divorce does not affect the children, but in cases where the custodial parent has a live-in partner, it obviously is a serious problem. If we identified a particular individual as someone who caused children to be between 8 and 10 times more likely to be harmed, everyone would avoid that person like the plague. But when a divorced parent brings a liv-in partner into the home, most of us just turn our heads and look the other way. It's time to face the facts, and they are terribly ugly.

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I'm sorry you went through that, but I don't know what it has to do with the OP. There was no indication at all that the man was planning to do that.

It sounded to me like that's exactly what he planned to do: use the fact that his wife was having an affair to gain an advantage in custody. If only perfect people got custody, we'd all of us be screwed. Personally, I don't think having an affair has anything to do with a person's ability to parent.

 

ETA: I see now that it seemed to be the OP's idea that her friend do this. I stand by my opinion, however, that parents shouldn't use custody issues to punish one another, as it only hurts the kids in the end.

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I haven't read through all the responses yet...but as a former divorce attorney I thought I would weigh in.

 

Courts use the "best intererest of the child" standard to determine custody issues.  In most states the behavoir of the parents that does not impact on the health or safety of the child does not come into play.  Having an affair (all other issues aside) simply does not impact a determination of where a child should live, whether a parent can take care of the child.

 

Now, if one parent is living with or dating a person who is a risk to the child - that is a whole different story.  If the other person is dangerous (s## offender, drug dealer, etc.) then the courts will often put provisions into the custody arrangment that "so and so cannot be around when mom is having custody."

 

Unfortunately, divorcing parties often see the custody battle as one last place to fight it out with their ex.  Instead, it needs to be viewed as an opportunity to create a plan for the child where he has consistent and continued contact with both parents and financial support from both parents.

 

Finally, I know you are concerned about your friend, but my advice really would be to take a step back.  You should not be advising him to hire a PI to investigate the affair or anything else.  I know you mean well, but these sorts of input just serve to fan the flames and don't lead to any really constructive outcome for the family.

 

They should get into counseling, get lawyers, use a mediator and get this taken care of as quickly and painlessly as they can.

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I haven't read through all the responses yet...but as a former divorce attorney I thought I would weigh in.

 

Courts use the "best intererest of the child" standard to determine custody issues. In most states the behavoir of the parents that does not impact on the health or safety of the child does not come into play. Having an affair (all other issues aside) simply does not impact a determination of where a child should live, whether a parent can take care of the child.

 

Now, if one parent is living with or dating a person who is a risk to the child - that is a whole different story. If the other person is dangerous (s## offender, drug dealer, etc.) then the courts will often put provisions into the custody arrangment that "so and so cannot be around when mom is having custody."

 

Unfortunately, divorcing parties often see the custody battle as one last place to fight it out with their ex. Instead, it needs to be viewed as an opportunity to create a plan for the child where he has consistent and continued contact with both parents and financial support from both parents.

 

Finally, I know you are concerned about your friend, but my advice really would be to take a step back. You should not be advising him to hire a PI to investigate the affair or anything else. I know you mean well, but these sorts of input just serve to fan the flames and don't lead to any really constructive outcome for the family.

 

They should get into counseling, get lawyers, use a mediator and get this taken care of as quickly and painlessly as they can.

I got a lot of advice from my close friends and I did a lot of reading while I was going through my divorce. Some of it I tossed out as not helpful to my situation but MUCH of it helped me immensely. I also have given advice to my close friends going through divorce and have been thanked repeatedly over a long period of time for helping them make good decisions that impacted them and their children for years to come.

 

Professionals can be helpful and they are often needed. But there is the law and there is the reality of what will happen in a court room. I am so thankful for all the information I gathered from myfriends during that time of my life.

 

So I don't know why you tell this OP to back away....or to not suggest a PI. You can bet if my child was going to be around a person who had an affair with my spouse, I would want to be sure there wasn't some horrible thing to be known....sex offender, drug addict, child abuser, violent past.

 

I do agree with you that each judge has a different mindset on what is relevant to divorce and custody.

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It sounded to me like that's exactly what he planned to do: use the fact that his wife was having an affair to gain an advantage in custody. If only perfect people got custody, we'd all of us be screwed. Personally, I don't think having an affair has anything to do with a person's ability to parent.

 

ETA: I see now that it seemed to be the OP's idea that her friend do this. I stand by my opinion, however, that parents shouldn't use custody issues to punish one another, as it only hurts the kids in the end.

It isn't always to hurt the spouse....I imagine most parents who want custody of their children are seeking that because they feel they are the best parent to raise them. People involved in affairs or addictions may THINK they want what is best for their kid...but they are not thinking clearly.

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Since I'm the OP I wanted to respond to some of this.  Since the mom began the affair she has undergone a complete personality change and has been seriously neglecting her children and has put them into uncomfortable and possibly unsafe situations.  She has not provided for any of their physical needs, for example, not making sure they have adequate food and clothing and definitely not overseeing their education even though she agreed to do so.  So I want to make it clear that the purpose of regulating custody arrangements is not to get back at her, but to ensure the well-being of the children.  

 

Also, I can see that countless people offering advice wouldn't be helpful, but our friend has asked us for advice and I believe we are the only ones he has asked.  We are close to the children and are concerned for their safety.

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I got a lot of advice from my close friends and I did a lot of reading while I was going through my divorce. Some of it I tossed out as not helpful to my situation but MUCH of it helped me immensely. I also have given advice to my close friends going through divorce and have been thanked repeatedly over a long period of time for helping them make good decisions that impacted them and their children for years to come.

 

Professionals can be helpful and they are often needed. But there is the law and there is the reality of what will happen in a court room. I am so thankful for all the information I gathered from myfriends during that time of my life.

 

So I don't know why you tell this OP to back away....or to not suggest a PI. You can bet if my child was going to be around a person who had an affair with my spouse, I would want to be sure there wasn't some horrible thing to be known....sex offender, drug addict, child abuser, violent past.

 

I do agree with you that each judge has a different mindset on what is relevant to divorce and custody.

 

I think the reason I suggested that the OP back away is that as a professional dealing with families going through a divorce I have seen the unrealistic and often wrong ideas clients have from information they heard from friends and family.  The only people who can really explain what the law is in your jurisdicition, what a judge in your family court is most likely to think is important, or what the best way to proceed in maximizing the benefitis for the child are those people who work in the system. 

 

"So and So said they got custody because their ex drank too much" is simply not a helpful piece of information.  It gives no real idea of why the judge ruled the way she did or what really was the focus of the case.  Family law issues are simply too case specific for generalizations to be of much help. It may be that the ex drank too much, it may be that he was not the primary parent during the marriage, it may be that he didn't seek custody, it may be that the custody evaluator determined that the mother would be a more stable parent...we just don't know.

 

People going through a divorce need lots of love and support from their family an friends.  They might need a shoulder to cry on or a helpful hand.  If there needs to be an investigation, let the lawyer hire a PI, or let the lawyer subpoena financial documents.  IMHO, friends should stay out of the legal side of the divorce...remember, people often get back together.

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I think the reason I suggested that the OP back away is that as a professional dealing with families going through a divorce I have seen the unrealistic and often wrong ideas clients have from information they heard from friends and family. The only people who can really explain what the law is in your jurisdicition, what a judge in your family court is most likely to think is important, or what the best way to proceed in maximizing the benefitis for the child are those people who work in the system.

 

"So and So said they got custody because their ex drank too much" is simply not a helpful piece of information. It gives no real idea of why the judge ruled the way she did or what really was the focus of the case. Family law issues are simply too case specific for generalizations to be of much help. It may be that the ex drank too much, it may be that he was not the primary parent during the marriage, it may be that he didn't seek custody, it may be that the custody evaluator determined that the mother would be a more stable parent...we just don't know.

 

People going through a divorce need lots of love and support from their family an friends. They might need a shoulder to cry on or a helpful hand. If there needs to be an investigation, let the lawyer hire a PI, or let the lawyer subpoena financial documents. IMHO, friends should stay out of the legal side of the divorce...remember, people often get back together.

Oh that reminds me that the PI I hired was terrible....my attorney told me he would have recommended a good one...but of course most people don't know they need an attorney until after they hire a PI. So yes your point is well taken and I would never suggest people make actual decisions based upon anecdotal stories from friends. HOWEVER, many attorneys do the very least possible and would never recommend many of the things I discovered were my right.....for instance one attorney at a consult told me I probably wouldn't get alimony. Another very expensive and well connected attorney didn't bother noticing how long I had been married and very casually said I wouldn't meet the criteria. So I asked her what the criteria was.. Turns out yes I DID indeed meet criteria.

 

I can't see what it hurts to hear that so and so lost custody because they drink too much..... They can then take that information to their attorney whereas they may not have thought to mention to their attorney that their spouse drinks to passing out every night.

 

One of my friends signed off on a very standard visitation schedule and her xh used it to torture her for the next 10 years. With a request to the courts for a few simple changes her life would have been so much easier. She didn't know she could ask. Same with marital debt. Her xh convinced her that because it was in her name she had to pay it and she got stuck with credit debt that was not only marital debt but his porn usage. She had an attorney....but he obviously didn't help her with that.

 

Information has to be sifted through and of course discussed with an attorney....but ultimately it isn't the attorneys life...it is the individuals going through the divorce or custody.

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My brother's ex-wives had multiple affairs. He had emails (she used his computer when communicating with her boyfriends somehow thinking she would never get caught - He was a project manager for the computer services company EDS at the time! :huh: ), and his teenage son had answered phone calls from her boyfriends who openly admitted their relationship to him, as well as pics of her making out "IN THE DRIVEWAY" late one night with the last boyfriend. She was the one that filed for divorce based on "irreconcilable differences" and my brother counter sued for adultery. One of the boyfriends was also on the registered s*x offenders list.

 

It.meant.nothing.to.the.family.court. Not even the fact that she had left the three year old with the perv.

 

He wanted full custody. He got 50/50. Two of the children had terrible asthma and she was a smoker, but the judge said he couldn't even order her not to smoke around the kids or make that an issue for losing custodial rights despite the three hospitalizations of the youngest the first year. D had never let her smoke in the house or in the mini-van...one of her big beefs with him. But, that had really helped the younger two stay healthy. Once she was in her own place, she smoked around them all the time, and they were constantly sick. He even had statements from their pediatrician stating that the children's health was tanking from living with her 50% of the time, but that still did not mean a blasted thing to the court. The children really suffered. It was of no consequence; parent rights trumped the child's right to a safe and healthy environment every.single.time.

 

He isn't going to get anywhere with this unless she does something really appalling like drinking and driving with the kids in the car AND gets caught, takes them with her on a drug deal, or uses them as lookouts while she knocks over the liquor store. If she doesn't end up with at least a night in jail over something, the court just isn't going to care.

I totally agree. My sister divorced an abusive man and while she no longer has to put up with him, there is no protecting the kids from him. My parents have spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to do so, and even though the school called CPS, and many other incidents occurred, there was nothing they could do, but get supervised visitation for one year. Then the whole thing started again.

 

I think more and more, the courts are looking at it like, this is the person you chose to have children with, he/she is their parent, and unless there is strong evidence of extreme abuse, they will continue to be able to exercise their parenting rights. There is no consideration about what is in the best interest of the child. It is all about the parent's rights.

 

In light of this, I highly doubt an affair will have any impact at all on child custody.

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So, a spouse that has an affair shouldn't get to see their kids? What about a spouse that doesn't pay child support? Should the kids be withheld? Do you really think that is putting the needs of the kids first or just punishing the "bad guy"?

The thing is, that a spouse who won't pay to support his own kids or has an addiction is more than likely a terrible parent. In my mind, the very definition of an unrecovered addict is "selfish". My sister's ex takes two of her kids sporadically because they are his "property". The oldest girl refuses to go with him anymore because she is old enough to refuse and she sees him for what he is. The boys come home from visits depressed and upset.

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