Posted by Jeremy Swanson
On March 16, 2016

“My Ex Is In A New Relationship: Is It Okay To Have That Person Around Our Children?”

“My Ex Is In A New Relationship: Is It Okay To Have That Person Around Our Children?”

This is one of the thorniest issues in family law. Not only do new partners tend to inflame feelings and disputes over parenting and other issues, but they can also create problems for the children during visitations and custodial time.

The general rule is that the court will not interfere with the introduction of a new partner into visitation or custody time unless there is a good reason to. There are, however, situations in which the judge will make restrictions. This can happen in cases where any of the following occur:

*The new partner has a criminal history
*The new partner has a substance abuse problem
*The new partner has a history of conflict with the minor children

The judge has the option of restricting time with the new partner altogether (called a no-contact order) or to make a variety of other restricting orders, including that the children are not to be babysat by the new partner.

Other common restrictions include a restriction that the new partner not discipline the children or not communicate on behalf of your Ex regarding the children.

There are some cases, which are rarer, where one party has a succession of new partners in a short period of time. This can be distressing, confusing, and destabilizing to children. If the judge finds that this has happened, the judge can restrict a party from introducing a new partner to the children until they have been together for a certain period of time.

As always, the primary concern for the judge is the best interests of the children. However, with that said, you should always keep in mind that the court is not going to make any moral judgment calls, meaning that if your Ex is having an unmarried relationship that violates your moral principles and the principles that you wish to teach your children, that alone will not be enough to restrict contact. Some of the most difficult situations arise when both parties are religious and agree on certain morals while married, and one party rejects those morals during the divorce. As difficult as it can be, each party has the ability to make those choices for themselves after separation, and the existence of another partner is many times something that has to be tolerated as there isn’t a legal basis for the judge to restrict contact.

DISCLAIMER: All legal principles quoted are valid as of the date of writing in the State of California. However, you should NEVER base your actions on a legal article, blog, or internet story, as facts in real life are complicated. You should have your case evaluated by an attorney experienced in the area of law needed for your case. In addition, there are often exceptions and potential changes to results that occur due to facts that you may think are trivial or unimportant. This article should not be taken in any way as legal advice on your specific legal matter.