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Gun ownership, divorce and custody

According to the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, you have a right to bear arms. However, you may worry that exercising that right could affect your ability to get custody in a divorce.

Family court judges have a lot of leeway when it comes to what they will consider in a child custody dispute. While there's a set of guidelines the judge usually follows, the court's focus is whatever is in the best interests of the child. That leaves the door open for any number of issues to be raised.

How could gun ownership affect you during a divorce and custody battle? It really depends on your situation. Any allegation by your spouse that you are unstable or violent and in possession of firearms could become important to the court.

When spouses are at war over marital property and custody of the kids, it isn't unusual for accusations of abuse to be thrown around. Your spouse, given the right motivation, may seize on your belief in the Second Amendment to make you seem like a threat to your own child's safety.

When domestic violence is alleged, judges may act to protect the minor children involved. They can empower the police to search your home in order to remove any weapons. This can cause additional problems for you if any of your firearms turn out to be unregistered or illegal.

Another issue that could present problems is the way that you secure your weapons. During your marriage, your spouse may not have had any issue with your approach to firearms and the kids.

You may have considered firearm education important and taught your children to respect your guns from an early age. Knowing that, a simple locked cabinet (or the door to your closet) may have always seemed like enough to keep the kids from handling your guns without permission.

However, once a divorce starts, your spouse may take issue with how easy it might be for your kids to access those weapons. If they could potentially access the guns in any way while you aren't at home, that could become a factor in your custody battle.

The reality is that the court cares far less about the Second Amendment than it does your child's safety. If you're involved in a custody dispute, consider putting the guns into storage for the duration of the process.

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