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I was with my ex for 17 years I just split up with him because he continues to cheat and have one night stands. He maintains profiles on a number of different dating websites, is constantly meeting numerous different women and is frequently looking at pornography online. Our 14-year-old daughter, even saw the picture of a naked girl on his laptop, when she was going through his computer. In his most recent escapades of cheating, he went after a woman who worked for him, as he was her supervisor and he was fired because of this. I have been talking to people and they told me that what he is doing is considered child abuse and demonstrates that he is an unfit father. Are these facts about him enough for a judge to deny him custody of our daughter?

ANSWER

The fact that you ever laid, have more to do with him being a bad boyfriend than a bad father. I have not heard anything that you have presented me, that demonstrates his daughter is in any way negatively affected. Furthermore, his daughter really should be going through his computer and opening up files that are not hers, and the idea that a 14-year-old girl is in some way harmed by seeing the picture of a naked woman that she actually had to search for and it wasn’t just in her face as she opened the computer is hardly child abuse. These are not a set of facts that I would present to a court, as it sounds more like you’re jealous of his actions in the fact you broke up and want to make him pay for it using his child. Does this mean that an argument could be made in court and that some unscrupulous lawyer would actually attempt to have a child taken away from the father for these set of facts, of course some attorneys would try that. I think it really depends on where you’re located, and the Bible Belt this may actually be grounds for denying custody of a child, but not in the Northeast. The simple fact is his behavior, even though you may not approve of it, is not directly impacting the child. I have heard nothing about him bringing women home and subjecting his daughter to any form of abuse. Simply because you do not approve of his lifestyle, does not mean he is not a good father. As long as the child is in no way harmed, what he does with his personal life should not be affecting his rights as a parent. Many single mothers work in strip clubs, obviously the court would consider this more of a negative than the fact you are describing, and that’s still not a reason from what I’ve seen to take custody from a parent. With that being said there are a number of different circumstances that will be taken into account to determine custody of a child and they will be looking at both parents to determine who would be the best place for the child to live with. Also considering the age of the child, the judge would want to hear from the 14-year-old, because calling a 14-year-old a child in this day and age is not completely accurate and she is more than old enough to speak for herself in court. If the only thing that your child has had to deal with, is finding a picture on her father’s computer, that was not open on the desktop when she use the computer, then I don’t see any of these facts as relating to his ability to be a good parent.
Joseph F. Botelho, Esq.

BOTELHO LAW GROUP
Attorneys At Law

901 Eastern Ave.
Unit 2
Fall River, MA 02723

Office:  888-269-0688

Email: jbotelho@botelholawgroup.com

https://www.botelholawgroup.com/

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