One of the hardest parts of divorce and co-parenting is when your ex finds a new partner and introduces them to your children. You may wish to exercise some control over this, but the fact is, you can’t. If your ex has a new love interest and they are living together with your kids, whether full time or on weekends, you have no control. Generally speaking, you must continue to allow your ex and your children to see each other.
There are exceptions
There are exceptions to the general rule. One such exception would be if your custody or visitation order specifically prohibits your ex from bringing new love interests around the children. This is very rare, however, and it’s unlikely that you could change the order after the fact.
Other exceptions include your child’s safety, health and well-being. If you have concerns that any of these are in peril due to your ex’s new partner, you may have a case. You would need evidence to back up these concerns. There is no guarantee that even with evidence, you would be able to keep the kids away from your ex, but your divorce lawyer can help you determine the best course of action.
What if I don’t agree with their values, or discipline style, or overall influence?
Unfortunately, just because you don’t agree with the new partner’s values, discipline style or overall influence on your children doesn’t mean you can keep your kids away from their parent. If the differences are significant, such as that you and your partner do not use physical discipline and the new partner does, you may have an argument.
Your best option, if you believe that the new partner should not be around your children, is to discuss your situation with your family lawyer. They can help you determine whether you have a case and if you do, how best to pursue it.
Breaching a specific agreement
If you and your ex have a specific agreement in place that stipulates that you will not introduce new partners to the kids, or that you’ll introduce them slowly following a specific format or schedule, and your ex has breached this agreement, you could have a case. In this type of situation, however, it’s not specifically the new partner that creates change. The fact that your ex breached your agreement is likely to create a dispute and friction between the two of you, and this can ultimately lead to a judge’s order limiting time or other things with the new partner solely to reduce friction between the two of you and create a more peaceful situation for the children.
Always keep the best interests of the children first
Whatever the specifics of your situation, it’s always important to put the best interests of your children first. You may desire to limit or eliminate the new partner’s role in your children’s lives, but limiting or eliminating their parent is usually not in their best interests. Instead, try discussing potential solutions with your ex and see if you can come to a mutual decision on how best to handle this.
If you can’t, and you strongly believe that the new partner is not in your children’s best interests, discussing the situation with a lawyer should be your first step. Do not stop visitation on your own, as this can hurt your case and even result in imprisonment. Talk to your lawyer to determine your options, consider what’s best for the children, and move forward from there.
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