I am getting divorced. I have a 2-year old daughter. I am wondering about custody. I listen to you all the time on the radio show and podcast. I’ve heard you say that the Judge usually decides that both parents should share the child equally. I just can’t imagine that the Judge would think that in my case.
It turns out that my husband is a horrible person. I recently discovered that he is cheating on me with his receptionist. I figured this out through the credit card statements and it is obvious that they went on a few romantic getaways on my dime. And that led me to the text messages, which were very explicit. I’m heartbroken but I am also furious. I kicked him out and now he just moved in with her.
I am the one that got her the job. She has been my friend for over 15 years and I know her very well. She does drugs and lives a party lifestyle. That is not an environment that I want my child to be in.
I just can’t imagine that under these circumstances the Judge is going to say that my husband will get my daughter half the time. Do I have any chance of keeping my daughter away from this situation?
I am very sorry for the situation that you find yourself in. It is important to remember that divorce is like a death. Regardless of the reasons for your divorce, you are in a mourning process. You will soon experience all the stages of grief. At this point, it is fresh and you are in the anger stage. It will not always be this difficult. I recommend that you find a good therapist to talk out these feelings.
When determining the best position to take, I would like you to go back in your mind to the day before you found out he cheated on you. Would you have described him as a good father then? If so, then I recommend you rethink this. Your husband’s betrayal of you makes him a bad husband, but not necessarily a bad father. I caution you not to punish your child by denying her access to her father. She needs her father as much as she needs you. Remember, if you concede to joint custody, you are not doing it for him. You are doing it for your daughter.
We live in a no fault state, which means that the court is not concerned with the reasons for the divorce. The fact that your husband had an affair has no bearing on whether he will get joint custody of your daughter.
The environment your daughter will be subjected to, however, is relevant. If your husband’s girlfriend is a regular presence in your daughter’s life and has a drug problem that you can prove, then those are facts that will be considered in the determination of custody in your case. Short of that, the court will probably look historically as what has been the status quo and then develop a schedule. The Judge will want to maximize the time your daughter spends with both parents.
Jessica H. Anderson
Divorce Attorney Reno, NV