How Does Adultery Affect Child Custody in Pennsylvania?

Schwartz, Fox & Saltzman, LLC. – Philadelphia Divorce Lawyers

While adultery can be relevant in some aspects of a divorce case in Pennsylvania, it usually does not affect child support obligations nor child custody in most instances. 

This article by the family law attorneys at Schwartz, Fox, & Saltzman explains how having an unfaithful spouse can affect custody in Pennsylvania.

Adultery & Child Custody

The Court utilizes 16 child custody factors to determine the child’s best interest when making an order. Key considerations in a custody determination are the child’s health, safety, and well-being and the desire to maintain a positive relationship with both parents. If a child is negatively affected by a parent’s behavior, the Court may take it into consideration.

When Adultery Can Affect Your Child Custody Case

If there is harm to the child resulting from an unfaithful parent”s relationship, it may affect your child custody case. Harm is not just physical but can also be emotional.  A child custody lawyer helps you determine if adultery may impact your child custody case.   

Your Prior Spouse Carried Out Their Extramarital Affair in Front of Your Child

Emotional harm takes many forms. Witnessing their parent engaged in an extramarital relationship can be devastating to a child. At a time when their entire world is unstable, seeing the “replacement” of one parent with a new partner, or being asked to lie for the unfaithful parent, can cause irreparable harm. Conversely, behaving appropriately when in the presence of your new friend and the children is not automatically a negative issue. Discuss it with an experienced family lawyer. 

Your Former Spouse Exposed Your Child to Inappropriate Behaviors During Their Affair

Allowing your child to witness any inappropriate behaviors can trigger the Court to question the unfaithful parent’s Parental Fitness/Stability. Poor judgment is rarely limited to only one aspect of life, and the Court’s number one priority is the best interest of a child.   

Your Prior Spouse’s Lover Abused Your Child

The Court has no tolerance or sympathy when it considers abuse to a child. Proven abuse can negatively affect the custody case and subject the offending parent to a multitude of other issues. In this situation, expert and experienced legal representation is in your best interest. 

Final Thoughts on Adultery & Child Custody

An experienced family law attorney can help you craft a strategy for your best custody case. As each case is unique and fact-specific, put our decades of combined experience to work for you! Having an attorney who truly cares about you and your family’s best interests can make all the difference.

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