If you share custody of your children with a porn addict, you probably feel worried and scared for your children. You might become especially panicked if your children are the age and gender preferred by the porn addict.

Our clients in child custody litigation come to us feeling frustrated with family court.
Fortunately, through their work with us they found that prompt action can help children avoid the harmful effects of pornography.

You should start by educating yourself about the addiction. Like drugs and alcohol, pornography delivers a consistent, effortless path to pleasure. These pleasurable sensations are immediate, but also illusory. They quickly prove to be temporary and harmful. They leave the abuser diminished in his capacity to love anyone, even himself and his children.

As with all addictions, pornography leads to a vicious cycle. The pleasure lasts only a few minutes. The user then finds his disease leaves him even worse than before. The same triggers that led to his first use still compel him, yet even stronger. He therefore requires repeated use. He discovers that he needs even greater stimulation to reach the same climax.

Each successive use perpetuates his dependency, until the disease overwhelms his humanity. Nearly all addicts pervert their priorities. They make bad choices regarding their values, which manifest in the improper use of their time and money. They become poor parents. Some even look for opportunities to carry out their fantasies in real life on real people.

If you find yourself in child custody litigation with a porn addict, your strategy should take three steps. First, you prove that your co-parent is addicted. Second, you convince the court to care about his dependency. Third, you propose specific action for the court to protect your children.

The first step requires you to prove that the addiction exists. Unlike drugs or alcohol, no chemical test can prove when someone uses pornography. However, you might be able to find evidence in credit card statements, computer records, and phone bills. When examining a computer, check not only the contents of the hard drive but also the internet browser history.

You may also ask the court to require him to submit to a psychological evaluation. A psychological evaluation relies almost entirely on self disclosure. He might be able to hide his compulsion from the evaluator. Hopefully, though, he will use the evaluation as an opportunity to seek help.

Once you prove that he is addicted, you proceed to the second step of convincing the court to care. Many families and their attorneys skip this critical step. However, you can’t assume that your judge agrees with you that he is harmful your children.

Different states take different tacks on considering the moral fitness of parents in custody litigation. For example, Louisiana contains an explicit statute to require consideration of “the moral fitness of each party, insofar as it affects the welfare of the child.” The Missouri Court of Appeals held that the father’s viewing of pornography should be considered in deciding child custody, but that this factor alone is not determinative. A Florida court ruled that a home based pornography business operated by the mother’s boyfriend had to affect her fitness to parent, even if the children themselves never saw his products.

Once you prove the addiction and convince the court to care, you begin step three: You tell the court specifically how to protect your children. If your children live primarily with the addicted parent, you could ask the court to transfer custody and residency to you. You might ask the court to require the other parent not to display inappropriate materials in the home when your children visit. You could even move the court to order that his parenting time be contingent on treatment. He could find a support group for sex addicts, modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous.

As with most issues involving child custody, you may best protect your children outside of court. Ideally, your attorney can use the court process to convince the other parent to seek help for his disease. If he loves your children as he claims, he should want to be the best parent possible for them.

Addiction to pornography grows worse with time. Act now before your children suffer irreparable harm. If you share custody with a porn addict, promptly contact a family law attorney with experience in these matters.

Copyright 2007 Scott Wasserman

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