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 initial 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.