Every month, I get an email with entitled Case Update from the ABA Family Law section which contains blurbs from interesting decisions throughout the country. This week, I got the December 2012 update and had to take two steps back when I read the following blurb:
Trial court may, in an initial custody determination, consider a parent’s sexual conduct as it relates to that parent’s character, without a showing that the conduct has been detrimental to the child; court may also consider fact that parent does not regularly attend church.
Wow!!! Mind you, the case is from Alabama, not New Jersey. In New Jersey, I doubt very much that conduct which is not detrimental to the child would be considered, whether it is gambling (and I actually had a case where a father, a bookie in his spare time, took his kids when he was meeting his bookie), use of pornography, affairs, an affinity for S&M, etc.
That said, the blurb appealed to my "prurient interests" and hooked me in so I had to read the case. I figured that there must be some crazy conduct going on. I figured. at the very least, I may have a good story to tell.
Wrong! The parties were divorced in 2007 but the ancillary issues, including custody were bifurcated. The custody hearing took place in 2010. What was the crazy sexual conduct that impacted the custody determination, you then ask. The mother was living with her fiance’, The relationship, by the way, did not become sexual until 2009. By the way, part of the reason for the delay in addressing custody was that the issue was put on the back burner in the divorce decree until the conclusion of criminal proceedings against the father for the alleged sexual abuse of the mother’s child from a prior relationship.