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How a romantic affair during divorce affect child custody matters

A divorce is typically traumatic for children. Tennessee residents might agree that children have to deal with many issues, such as the insecurity of having to stay with one parent. There are also financial matters that will also affect the child, such as child support and health care coverage. In the best interest of the child U.S. courts, including those in Tennessee, often grant child custody to one parent and order the other parent to pay child support.

The judge considers several factors when deciding on child custody and visitation matters. The judge does not generally react positively when one spouse is having an extra-marital affair while the divorce proceedings are still going on. The judge typically considers that to be improper behavior and it is not considered appropriate to demonstrate that to the child. Hence, it is in the best interest of the parent who wants custody of the child not to reveal the extra-marital relationship to the court.

If the other parent can prove that the extra-marital affair will impact that parent's ability to care for the child, there is a good possibility that the unfaithful parent will not get custody of the child. There have been cases in which a judge has reversed the child custody decision if the parent who had been granted primary custody allowed the child and the lover to spend time together before the divorce was finalized.

Infidelity has also been known to influence the judge when it came to deciding about the visitation rights of the non-custodial parent. In fact, a divorce in which one parent is involved in an extra-marital affair can also become quite expensive.

Source: Tennessee Bar Association, "The Pitfalls of Romantic Involvement During Divorce Proceedings," Jan. 2, 2012

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