When you divorce, part of the process involves accepting that your spouse will eventually have an intimate relationship with someone else. Some people get divorced because their spouse already pursued a new romantic relationship outside of the marriage.
Whether you have an ex that cheated on you or who moved on so quickly that it made your head spin, you may worry about how their new relationship will affect your children.
Divorce is already hard enough on kids. Adding a new person to the family dynamics could make things even more difficult. You may also hate the idea of needing to co-parent with someone who helped destroy your marriage. Can you ask the courts to keep your ex’s new love interest away from your children if you share custody?
You have no control over what your ex does during their parenting time
The hard truth is that for most parents sharing custody, they have no say in what their ex does during their parenting time. As long as your ex provides the basic necessities for your children and complies with the specifics of the custody order, you probably will have very little say in what they do with your children. That includes whether or not they introduce their new love interest to the kids.
While you can’t stop them from making the introduction, you can talk with them about it. Both of you want what is best for your kids, and that means supporting their emotional needs during a difficult time. Most kids need roughly two years to process and move on from a parental divorce. Adding new, confusing variables to the family circumstances right away might make things harder for the children.
If your ex won’t put the kids first, can the courts help?
If you believe that involving another person who may or may not have a long-term involvement with the family now is harmful, would the courts take action? After all, custody decisions usually focus on the best interests of the kids. Won’t the courts try to limit behavior that would damage the children?
In theory, the courts do what is best for the kids, but they won’t micromanage family interactions. Unless you have some kind of proof that the new partner is dangerous for the kids, possibly because of criminal behavior or the termination of their parental rights, the courts probably won’t specifically prohibit their presence around your children.
However, if this new person has a history of violence or has been aggressive or abusive toward your children already, you may be able to ask the courts to intervene. Reviewing the circumstances with a lawyer can help you decide whether it’s worth discussing this new love interest during custody proceedings.