Victoria Anderson, now aged 9, has lived with her paternal great grandmother, Marilyn Anderson, in Dayton, Ohio since she was an infant. She has gotten “parenting time” during those years with both her mother and father. Ms. Anderson objected to Ms. Hill smoking around the child during her visits, and the Warren County court ordered all parties to protect the child from second hand smoke. The Ohio 12th district court of appeals has upheld the ruling, using judicial notice to conclude that second-hand smoke is dangerous to children. Taking judicial notice was unusual in this case, because neither of the parties presented proof in court, rather the court recognized an “avalanche of authoritative scientific studies” that show second-hand smoke poses a health danger to children. This decision could now apply to many Ohio children involved in child-custody or visitation cases.
Cases like this pit a parent’s right to smoke against a child’s right to breathe fresh air. But courts have typically decided these types of cases in the best interest of the child, rather than focusing on who has the right to do what. According to non-smokers’ rights group, Action on Smoking and Health, eighteen states have ruled that smoking near a child is a factor that should be taken into consideration when deciding custody.
Find out more about what the courts have to say about smoking and other hazards at Court bans mom from smoking near child.
If you are involved in a child custody battle, please contact our firm for expert, compassionate legal counsel.