Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Banned in Ohio - Smoking around your Child?

Sure cigarette smoking is still legal in the Buckeye State. But that does not mean you can count on lighting up when your child is near.

In Anderson v. Anderson, a southern Ohio appellate court recently upheld as valid a lower court's order requiring parties in a custody dispute to prohibit smoking around a child. That seems like a pretty broad no-smoking order. Not only are the parents banned from smoking around the child, they are also required to keep others from smoking around the child.

More noteworthy is that the Court did not have any evidence to suggest that the child suffered any physical ailments because of exposure to cigarette smoke. Instead, the court took judicial notice of the "avalanche of authoritative scientific studies" which indicates that secondhand smoke causes disease and is a danger to all children.

Ohio, like most other states, considers all "relevant factors" in determining parenting or visitation time and no one factor is the end all - instead, it is more of a balancing test. For example, the courts consider (among many other things) a child's adjustment to home, school and community, the geographic location of the parties, the child's interaction with others, whether a parent has any prior domestic violence issues, or any other factor impacting a child's best interests.

After the Anderson case, Ohio courts may place much more significance on whether a parent smokes near a child -even if they do not invoke all out smoking bans. It will be interesting to see how the law develops in this area and how smoking parents will react.

For more information, contact a family law attorney. Written by Carol L. Gasper,