How does pornography affect custody and parent-time determinations in a divorce?
Usually when people think about pornography use, or pornography addiction, they think of men being addicted to pornography, and while that happens, pornography use is actually pretty equivalent between men and women.
Men tend to use pornography and approximately the same ratio as women use it, they just use it differently. Men tend to view videos and pictures for their pornography, women tend to read stories sometimes videos and pictures, but usually stories.
It’s not just a male problem, we see this kind of across the board unfortunately. Now the question really becomes, “is this going to affect child custody and parent time?”, the answer is, “probably not”, with a couple caveats…
So pornography can affect custody and parent time if pornography use is criminal. So, if it’s child pornography, use of child pornography, the viewing of child pornography, absolutely.
If it’s other criminal forms of pornography, yes absolutely it’s going to affect child custody and parent-time. But that usually doesn’t happen very often.
Then there is the addiction part of this…
If somebody is actually addicted to pornography, in the sense that they don’t go outside, they don’t have normal human interactions, they don’t interact with their kids, they don’t interact with their spouse, or they can’t hold a job because they’re viewing pornography all the time, those are signs of actual clinical addiction to pornography.
If that’s the situation that you have, or your spouse has, then very likely, yes, that is going to affect custody and parent-time. Not because of the pornography use itself, but because of the fact that somebody is addicted to it and they can’t control it and they can’t watch their kids and they have horrible relationships or their kids because of the addiction. So it’s an addiction, and like any other addiction. If you have a gambling addiction and you’re losing all your money, you’re not sleeping at night, you’re not interacting with your kids, that’s going to affect custody and parent-time as well.
So that’s really that’s really the takeaway here. If it’s an actual clinical addiction that’s affecting human relationships and your ability to parent your kids, then yes, this is going to have a severe effect on custody and parent-time.
Now I have to tell you that, while pornography use, we run into it all the time in our Utah divorce cases, actual clinical addiction to pornography in these sorts of situations, where it really makes a big difference, doesn’t happen very often at all. So it at the end of the day, pornography is probably not going to have that much to do with custody and parent time.
Now that’s not to say, that this isn’t a betrayal to the spouse who doesn’t use pornography, it absolutely is if that’s the way they feel about it. But when it comes down to figuring out child’s child custody and parent time, it’s probably not going to have that much of an effect, unless again, it’s criminal use of pornography or if there’s an actual clinical addiction to pornography.