Judges take many items into consideration when ruling on an Oklahoma child custody case. One thing they often consider and look at when deciding whether to award custody is whether or not a parent smokes. While we have now known for years that smoking has been bad and caused health concerns, if the added health risks caused by smoking were not incentive enough to get people to quit, the following might provide some added motivation to put cigarettes out for good. There has been a growing movement to take children away from parents who smoke.
George Washington University Law School professor John F. Banzhaf recently proposed the idea to the North American Regional Conference of the International Society for Family Law in Washington, D.C. Banzhaf backed up his proposal with statistics that over 6,000 children per year die because of second-hand smoke. While many states, including Oklahoma, factor parental smoking in child custody cases, Banzhaf pleaded that removing children from a smoking home would be the solution to the problem.
In a Newsmax article, Banzhaf stated that:
“We, as attorneys, probably have greater power than other professionals to right wrongs, and to change society for the better, because we can use the tremendous power of law for the public good rather than just to benefit paying clients. And you, as family attorneys, can and should be using the great power of law to right serious wrongs being done to children.“
What this Means to Parents Going Through an Oklahoma Child Custody Battle?
Smoking might not be the defining item that decides custody, but a judge will always put what’s in the child’s best interests when he or she makes a ruling. As more and more anti-smoking laws are put in place, smoking has become an effective tool for a parent to use in court to gain leverage against a parent who smokes. Ultimately, smoking is now something that is considered when deciding custody and visitation.
It has not been uncommon for Oklahoma courts and elsewhere to issue orders to a smoking parent. These might involve smoking outside or using only one room in the house to smoke and also prohibit them from smoking in the car with a child. If such orders are made, arrangements are usually made to make sure the parent is adhering with the order. If you the smoking habits of your ex concern you when he or she is around your child, you will want to contact an experienced Oklahoma child custody attorney.
Why Experience the Fry & Elder Difference?
The Tulsa law firm of Fry & Elder has long been synonymous with Oklahoma child custody and all other areas of family law. Robert G “Hap” Fry Jr. is one of only 19 attorneys in the state to be a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Fry also was selected by Best Lawyers® as its Lawyer of the Year for Family Law in Tulsa for 2016. Fellow Fry & Elder partners M. Shane Henry, Aaron D. Bundy and James R. Elder, along with Fry, have each garnered the coveted AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®.
Luke Barteaux has been recognized as a Super Lawyers® Rising Star™. Lorena Rivas focuses much of her practice on Oklahoma immigration law, while Katie Egan is able to practice law in Connecticut and New York, as well as Oklahoma. Kristen Bernhardt has excelled in both bench and jury trials, once winning a settlement of over $10 million from Coca-Cola. Melissa Fell rounds out a staff of talented attorneys, which are some of the most decorated in the state.
Collectively, the team has helped Fry & Elder garner national accolades, as evidenced by the U.S. News & World Report placing the firm on its Best Law Firms list from 2014-2016. Contact Fry & Elder today to set up a consultation with an elite Oklahoma trial lawyer.