Question: My wife is trying to paint me as a sex addict to limit my contact with our kids due to my infidelity. Do I have to prove that I am not a sex addict or predator?
Answer: Family law is state specific and I am not licensed to practice in Oregon. Before you take any action you should contact a domestic litigation attorney licensed in Oregon.
In many states, the courts will look at two factors when deciding custody: parental fitness and the best interests of the child. The allegations of being a sex addict could possibly affect both factors. However, it will also depend on the credibility of the evidence your wife presents in support of her claims. How much you will have to ‘disprove’ her claims will depend on the quality of the evidence she presents. Will she simply be getting up on the stand and making a statement, or will she have credible witnesses or records to admit?
It will be your burden in court to prove you are a fit parent. This burden will be made greater by your wife’s claims. You will need to show that her claims are untrue, or in the alternative, that your actions have not had an adverse affect on your children, and that you are capable of being a good parent.
Assuming you are planning on an eventual custody trial, a few suggestions would be:
1. Start a journal and chronicle all of your time with your kids. What do you do with them, where do you go, who with?
2. Exercise all of your visitation time, and spend that time with your kids as much as possible. Do not have friends or family look after your kids during your visitation time, to the extent that is possible.
3. Go to their activities and support them. Let other people see you taking an interest in your kids, particularly people who might be called on later to testify in court as to your involvement.
4. If you are seeing someone, do not expose your children to this person. Courts have a low tolerance for bringing significant others around children during the pendency of a divorce. Don’t talk about him or her around your children, or make comments as to whom you are with when the children aren’t around. Keep your private life private.
5. Limit your time on the Internet when your kids are around. If your kids testify, it’s better they don’t have reason to say that you spend a lot of time on the computer.
Nancy R. Shannon, a Nebraska native, is an Associate Attorney in the Omaha, Nebraska office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. She is licensed in the state of Nebraska where her primary practice is exclusively in the area of domestic relations. Ms. Shannon received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Doane College and her Juris Doctor from University of Nebraska – Lincoln, where she was a finalist in a Moot court competition and active in Client Counseling activities.