Can I stop my ex from introducing our children to their new dating partner?

dating, divorce and parenting time

Even if you are at peace with your divorce, finding out your ex is dating someone new can stir up a hornet’s nest of emotions, especially when you have children together. What if your your kids aren’t ready for this big step or have expressed reluctance in their parent dating? Do you have any rights for preventing a new boyfriend or girlfriend from taking part in parenting time? 

Based on recent court decisions in New Jersey, when it’s their turn for parenting time, it’s generally up to the parent to decide who interacts with their kids. This includes choosing when and how to include a new partner in parenting time. As long as there is no inappropriate behavior with the children (i.e., abuse or risky behaviors such as excessive drinking or drug use), the ability of the other parent to somehow block or place a restraint on children’s interactions with the new paramour is limited.

When parents do end up in court over these issues, the grounds might be that their child is very upset about the parent’s new dating partner, for example, or they are concerned about the moral welfare of the child if the paramour spends the night in the presence of the child. In these cases, the courts attempt to strike a balance between the adult’s healthy pursuit of new relationships, the needs and best interests of the child and the negative emotions that a child may feel when their parent begins dating again.

Can your ex’s new girlfriend or boyfriend spend the night?

In the recent decision of Mantle v. Mantle, a case that revolved around a father having his new girlfriend spend the night, the court said it was likely that a majority of the community would no longer frown upon a dating partner discreetly spending the night during parenting time. Ultimately, the family court ruled that the parents in the Mantle case may introduce their child to new dating partners after six months, and such partners may stay overnight after one year.

But the courts were also clear that this six months/one year standard was in direct response to the Mantle case and not a blanket recommendation for others. The best interests of children are different and unique and so any guidance from the courts would need to be decided on a case-by-case basis only.

When should you introduce your kids to a new romantic partner? 

It’s recommended that divorced or separated spouses seek the advice of a family therapist on how to best deal with the introduction of a new partner into the children’s lives with the least amount of friction, discomfort, angst and conflict possible. The therapist can asses children’s readiness and come up with a workable plan that prioritizes children’s well-being.

Are you concerned about your ex’s new partner and their place in your child’s life? Have other custody and parenting time questions? We’re here to help. Please contact us today to schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys and get answers and a clear strategy for safeguarding your children. Call us at 888-888-0919 or please click the button below.

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Can I Get A Divorce Without My Spouse’s Consent? 

can one spouse stop a divorce

Are you heading for a divorce road block? As a recent case in the United Kingdom demonstrated, it’s still possible in this day and age for a divorce to be called off because one spouse doesn’t want one.

The UK matter involved a couple married since 1978. The wife filed legal papers a few years ago on the grounds the marriage had irretrievably broken down. According to her court statement, her husband’s behavior made it unreasonable for her to continue living with him. 

The husband denied his wife’s allegations and has refused to take part in the divorce. His attorney have characterized his client as being ”unfairly criticized for attempting to save his marriage.” 

A higher court in the UK recently sided with the husband and the divorce has been put on hold.  It’s a ruling that has many in the UK calling for a modernization of divorce laws in the country. 

New Jersey divorce when one spouse disagrees

If this same divorce had been filed for in New Jersey, the outcome would have been very different.  

Under current NJ family law, the courts will permit you to move forward and obtain a divorce even if your spouse does not want one and/or attempts to prevent the divorce by failing or refusing to participate in the process. The bottom line: In New Jersey, if one spouse decides to divorce and file, the other spouse has no say in the matter.

New Jersey’s family laws are progressive. No one wants marriages to end, but like terminating any legal relationship, the state understands that the decision to end a marriage can sometimes be a unilateral decision — and for good reason. For example, victims of domestic abuse are often subject to intimidation tactics from the abuser to remain in the marriage. The law if there to protect the survivor spouse’s decision to end their relationship.

What is a “default judgment of divorce” in New Jersey?

Once legal papers are filed, the divorce is given an official court docket number and it starts to make its way through the courts. Generally, the only way for a New Jersey divorce to “go away” is for the original petitioner to file a motion withdrawing papers.

When one spouse resists or refuses to accept legal papers and/or does not respond to them, a divorce can and will still be granted. The courts do so by means of a default judgment in which a judge will look over all paperwork submitted by only the filing spouse and make all decisions about all aspects of the matter — including child custody, child support, alimony and asset division — based on this information.

The basic process for obtaining a default judgement in New Jersey involves:

Filing and serving a Complaint for divorce: Only one spouse needs to file papers with the courts to start the legal process. If you are the filing spouse, you will need to complete required forms (NJ documents is explained here). A process server will attempt to serve the papers on your spouse. If successfully served, your spouse then has 35 days to respond.

Serving a Notice of Equitable Distribution & Case Information Statement: If your spouse does not respond to the legal papers because they object to the divorce or for other reasons, you next serve your spouse with a Notice of Equitable Distribution and Case Information Statement, which contains all of the issues you want to resolve in your matter such as child custody, visitation, alimony, child support, division of all assets, insurance coverage and payment responsibilities. The Case Information Statement provides details specific to your case such as income, assets, liabilities and a monthly budget.

Obtaining a Decree: The Case Information Sheet and accompanying documents are also submitted in court for the judge for incorporate into your final judgment. A date will be set for this court hearing and your spouse will be served notice of it.

Your spouse has the right to participate in the final hearing and oppose your requests, but even if he or she does make an appearance on your court date, if your requests are viewed as fair and reasonable, the judge will most likely accept them and grant you a decree.

It’s clearly in the best interests of both spouse to respond

Read more: 

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Have questions about your divorce? We are here to help. For a free strategy session with one of our skilled family law attorneys, please call us at 888-888-0919, or click the button below. 

Schedule a Free Consultation


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can produce feelings of abandonment, sadness, anger, and be a trigger for adult children to question what was real in their childhood, even if your marital problems didn’t exist at the time.

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