Surprising an ex-spouse and children with a new love interest is not only in poor taste, but disrespectful and unfair to the children and other family members. It’s fitting for you to question the appropriateness of your children meeting and spending time with this new friend.  You’re uncomfortable with the prospect of this person parenting your child and concerned about your children becoming attached. He/she should have consulted you. You feel it’s too soon.

Unless there is a history of criminal activity, alcoholism or drug abuse, generally the courts do not order that a significant other not be around the children. If there is no morality clause and nothing specified in the divorce decreed or court order, there is nothing you can do. You both are rebuilding your lives which means new loves and new relationships.

To protect yourself and your children open the lines of communication. If you truly feel this relationship is harmful to the children talk to your attorney. Without a court order, keeping the children from him/her is not an option. As the custodial parent, you have the right to know whose custody your children are in during visitation, but no say as to who that person is.

For the sake of the children, be accommodating. Keep conversations, disagreements and concerns away from the children and away from the new friend. Children fantasize about parents reuniting, they hang-on to a hope that life will return to “their” normal. Explain his/her presence to the children and make this person feel welcome.  You want them to be good to your children and you want them on your side. When your children are with your Ex this person is going to be there. Hopefully the relationship is a serious one. If visitation leads to repeatedly meeting a new love interest, you might consider a morality clause. Although there are loopholes and attorneys disagree on its usage, the clause is about protecting the children from a revolving door of romantic interests.

Divorce ends a marriage but families persist. Accepting a younger person who your children may identify with won’t be easy. And asking to many questions when they return home is a bad idea. Consult a family counselor or therapist to listen to your concerns and provide support. Any change, adjustments or additions to the custody / visitation order works both ways. Consult your attorney to learn more.

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