Child Custody and the New Girlfriend or Boyfriend

It’s a fact of getting divorced – eventually both you and your ex will move on, and there will be new significant others in both of your lives.

When issues of child custody and visitation are at play; however, many people find this reality difficult to deal with. Certainly, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be aware of any new people involved in your children’s lives, the time your children are spending with them, and what influence they might have over your children. However, it’s important to differentiate between your dislike for the new girlfriend or boyfriend and what is or is not in the best interests of your children.

child custody happy mom and child

Personal issues versus health and safety

If your problem with your ex’s new significant other comes down to your personal problems with them, then there is generally nothing you can do, as long as your ex is acting within the terms of your custody agreement and in a erasable manner. However, if you have reason to believe that your ex’s new partner may represent a danger to your child, or that a relationship with them is not in your child’s best interests, that is a very different matter. In this case, you absolutely should take action. The court considers any threat to the safety of your children to be grounds for the immediate modification of the custody agreement.

Planning ahead

If you are getting divorced and foresee this becoming an issue down the road, there are steps you can take now. You and you ex can agree on terms for introducing your child to new partners, for example, that it will be done slowly and incrementally, or that the child won’t spend the night at any new partner’s home. If you don’t think you’ll be able to agree on these terms or foresee these issues causing a great deal of conflict, you should consider mediation.