Computers, Divorce (Oh, and an Election) – Part One

anthony weiner casts long shadow

As we near Election Day, two new players and their marriage have taken center stage – Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner. To recap: Huma is currently a key aide and adviser to Hillary Clinton, and Anthony is a former congressman now best known for other incidents. His latest incident unfortunately may have involved an underage girl, and one of his messages may have had a picture of his infant son in the background. Unsurprisingly, the feds began a criminal investigation and Huma finally files for divorce.

The Abedin-Weiner divorce has major overtones for the current election, but what we would like to address are the consequences of certain behaviors in this marriage and how they will impact the pending divorce and custody battle to follow. In this post we will discuss the alleged criminal actions of Anthony Weiner on custody; in our next post we will discuss the use of social media in custody battles.
In Missouri, any attempt to solicit sexual contact with a minor through electronic communications is a felony and, upon conviction, would require registration as a sex offender. Similarly, any attempt to do the same across state lines would violate federal law; indeed, even using the Internet to do so within the state could qualify as a federal offense.

What impact will Weiner’s conduct have on his ability to have custody of his son?

New York, like most states, limits the ability of a convicted sex offender to have custodial access to their child. So, if it turns out that Weiner is convicted of a sex offense, he likely will have limited and perhaps supervised visitation with his son. Even without conviction, his egregious conduct and incredibly poor judgment will be seen by the court as a sign he lacks the capacity to safely exercise custody of his son. Assuming Huma had no knowledge of what Weiner was allegedly doing with a minor and in the presence of their own child, she will not be considered also at fault. However, if she did have such knowledge and acquiesced, her conduct could be seen as some form of abuse or neglect and could result in the juvenile court having some role in determining the proper home and custodians for the child, as well as ordering counseling and other interventions. It seems safe to assert that the court system will have much say and oversight of this family for some time to come.

If this had occurred in Missouri, our courts take a very bright line view with regard to convicted sex offenders: they cannot exercise any custody rights and any visitation must be supervised.

If you have questions about marital misconduct and divorce, contact us – we can help.

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