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Couple's child custody dispute gets personal

Although state law may allow for no-fault divorce, a recently profiled high-asset divorce proceeding suggests that some divorcing spouses proceed otherwise.

Specifically, a family court judge recently allowed one party to introduce evidence of his spouse’s abortion procedure. The issue apparently came up because the couple could not agree on a visitation plan for their children, including which parent could have the children on the Easter holiday weekend. 

Although the soon-to-be former husband did not celebrate Easter, he claimed that his wife had not spent time with their children during last year’s Easter weekend either because she had been getting an abortion. The woman had also previously testified that she never brought men over to the couple’s apartment.

The judge questioned whether the circumstances of the abortion might contradict the woman’s former testimony, so he allowed the questioning. The woman testified that she had become pregnant after visiting a friend in his apartment, rather than in the couple’s home. She also admitted that the procedure had occurred over the Easter weekend, when the children were in her care. Her mom had watched over the children during her absence.

Although the details of this story may be atypical, the contention that can arise during child custody disputes is not. A divorce attorney might agree that every arrangement of custody, visitation and parenting time is case-specific and involves the careful consideration of many factors.

The career demands of each spouse may affect the best interests of the children, as might the neighborhoods and area schools in their respective residences. Depending on each parent’s unique circumstances, a court may agree that parents should share child-raising decisions in a joint custody arrangement. Yet even if one parent is awarded legal custody, both parents generally have a right to parenting time and visitation. With the help of a child visitation lawyer, a parent may be able to reach an acceptable arrangement.

Source: abajournal.com, “Judge allows abortion to be used as evidence in high-profile child-custody case,” Martha Neil, Sept. 25, 2013

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Couple's child custody dispute gets personal | Peter A D'Angelo, Attorney at Law, PLC