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Anthony Weiner's guilty plea and child custody rights

The long saga of former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, who resigned from his job back in 2011 when his sexting activities with multiple women became public, was back in the news this month. Weiner tearfully pleaded guilty to sending an underage girl explicit images of himself last year. That's a federal crime.

The same day that Weiner pleaded guilty, his wife, Huma Abedein, was reportedly filing for divorce from her estranged husband in another New York courtroom. Weiner's marriage to the Hillary Clinton aide had been media fodder since the original scandal broke six years ago. It was even a central focus of a documentary last year on Weiner's failed run for New York mayor.

Weiner could spend more than two years in federal prison in the plea deal he made by admitting that he sent obscene material to a minor. He also has to register as a sex offender. The 52-year-old Weiner told the judge, "I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse."

While Abedin stood by her husband throughout the initial scandal that lost him his congressional seat, that changed after the new sexting with the high school girl came to light. In one of the images he sent of himself, the couple's young son, then 4 years old, was next to him.

What all of this means for Weiner's ability to visit or have any type of custody of the boy remains to be seen. One noted divorce attorney said, "He'll be lucky if he gets supervised visits. His judgment was so bad." Another attorney who has handled some high-profile divorce clients says, "Your moral character is going to be a factor in any custody case because the main issue is the best interest of the child."

Whether Weiner's wife makes custody and visitation an issue in the divorce or not, a judge may well decide that it's in the child's best interest to have limited contact with his father, at least while he is still in treatment.

When one spouse in a divorce has admitted to immoral and/or illegal behavior, his or her rights to custody and visitation can be severely limited. An experienced New York family law attorney can help you fight for some level of contact and help you increase that level as you demonstrate changes in the behavior that is the issue.

Source: The New York Times, "Anthony Weiner Pleads Guilty to Federal Obscenity Charge," Benjamin Weiser and William K. Rashbaummay, May 19, 2017

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