The concern is usually even stronger when the parent believes the third party was in some way responsible for the breakup of their marriage.
In certain circumstances you may be able to limit how much contact your children have with your spouse or former spouse’s new romantic interest. In an initial custody determination, you can offer evidence that your spouse is exercising poor judgment by introducing your child[ren] too soon to his or her paramour or to someone who is not suitable to be around your child[ren]. If there is already a custody order already in place you will need to demonstrate to the court that there has been a substantial change of circumstances that warrants a modification to custody.
A more common way to limit this type of contact is by inclusion of specific provisions in a separation agreement. Two common provisions are a “right of first refusal” provision and a “no overnight visitation” provision. A “right of first refusal” provision would give both parents the right to be notified when the other parent was unable to care for the child and an option to care for the child in lieu of a third party. A “no overnight visitation” provision would prohibit a parent from having overnight visitation with someone not related by blood or marriage. In addition, despite obvious enforcement difficulties, you could include other specific provisions to limit contact between a parent’s new romantic interest and their child[ren] (ie. a provision which prohibits introduction of the children to any new romantic interest until divorce or some other agreed upon time).
Whether you can successfully limit how much time your children are with your spouse or former spouse’s paramour is dependent upon the facts and circumstances of each case. However, in general it is important for a parent to realize that separation necessarily means some loss of control over the parenting decisions of the other parent and that in general attempting to control the other parent following separation is wasted energy.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is intended as a general guide and is not to be used as legal advice by Gailor & Hunt, PLLC. Whether or not you may be entitled to take action in regard to the information addressed in this article can only be determined after a thorough review of the facts and circumstances of your case. You may contact Gailor & Hunt, PLLC, a full service divorce law firm, at 919-670-2925 or 910-509-7223.