While an extramarital affair alone won’t cause a parent to be ineligible for sharing parental responsibilities, it could make it more difficult to convince the court that the parent is stable and responsible.
What to Know About the Decision Process
A parental responsibility determination will only take the child’s best interests into account. There are certain ways the courts can determine what those best interests are. These include:
- Which parent has acted as the child’s primary caregiver. In these cases, the court may decide to give primary parental responsibilities to the parent who has provided the most care for the child.
- Which parent is most willing to permit the child to maintain a relationship with the other parent, the child’s extended family, and the community.
- The capabilities of either parent to provide a loving, stable, and safe living environment for the child.
How an Extramarital Affair Can Affect the Process
An extramarital affair is not considered a deciding factor on its own, but it can influence the decision in connection with the other factors. For instance, if a parent was involved in an affair that caused embarrassment for the child or which indicated that he or she was not acting in the best interest of the child, this could serve as evidence against the parent’s favor.
Another potential issue could arise from cohabitation with another romantic partner throughout the divorce process or dispute over parental responsibilities. In these cases, the court may investigate whether this relationship has an effect on the stability of the home and could consider the relationship between the child and this third party.
Seeking Legal Assistance
The many factors that could influence a court’s decision regarding parental responsibilities can make the process challenging. Parents will need to exercise critical thinking before acting, and inexperience can make this process particularly difficult and exhausting to navigate, potentially resulting in a ruling that goes against a parent’s wishes.
With the help of a family law attorney, a parent going through the divorce process or a parental responsibility dispute can receive the advice they need to keep the process smoother. A reputable lawyer can help guide parents to ensure that their actions don’t cause any issues that could make them unable to spend time with their children, whether or not an extramarital affair has occurred.