If you don’t like your ex’s new significant other, you may be wondering whether or not there’s anything you can do to keep them away from your kids.
When You Don’t Like Your Ex’s New Partner
It’s not uncommon for parents to be apprehensive about their children meeting their ex’s new partner. But as you have probably already guessed, you cannot prevent your children from interacting with your ex’s new boyfriend or girlfriend simply because of character flaws. But what if they have a history of violence, or drug use, or what if they’re a registered sex offender? Even under dire circumstances such as the aforementioned, your ability to prevent your ex’s new partner from being around your children may be very limited, especially if no abuse has occurred. When it comes to your ex’s new significant other, there’s not a whole lot that can be done to prevent abuse if abuse hasn’t ever happened. This is especially true when there isn’t anything that would suggest the child is at risk of being abused. There are some issues where there could be some court intervention, such as ongoing drug use of narcotics – generally not alcohol or marijuana, sex offenders that could potentially cause harm to a child, people with significant and repeated violent offenses, and someone with a history of child abuse or neglect. The court can’t order the significant other to act, but can compel the parent to make certain decisions or compel compliance by the significant other for something like a drug test. The court could put provisions in place to protect the child such as supervision of the child and significant other or ban contact between the child and significant other. The court may not find a reason to place any restrictions at all.
Your Ex’s Parent-Time
If there’s a custody order in place, your ex has a right to see the children at the specified times. Outside of extraordinary circumstances, judges will generally look down upon parents who intentionally interfere with their ex’s parent time. Just because one parent suspects abuse does not give them the right to withhold court-ordered parent time. Furthermore, it’s really hard to completely remove a parent from the child’s life if the parent wants to be involved in the child’s life and is capable of doing so. Once a custody arrangement has been established, judges don’t want to mess with it too much–especially if the child is thriving under the current arrangement. If there is any evidence that abuse has occurred or the child will be placed in a position where it’s highly likely to occur, the court could take action through a request for a child protective order or a temporary restraining order. Both options should probably be discussed with an attorney to determine what’s best for your situation.
It’s Going to Depend on the Circumstances
If you believe your ex is dating someone who poses a danger to your kids, what a judge will do is going to depend on the circumstances. For example, a judge will likely be more interested in a case where one parent is dating a registered sex offender than a case where a parent is dating someone who went to jail for grand theft auto. Regardless, it’s not particularly likely that a judge would take away your ex’s custody just due to their significant other’s background, especially when no abuse has occurred or is at significant risk of occurring. However, if your ex is dating a registered sex offender, a judge may rule that the children are never to be left alone with your ex’s new significant other. A judge may also rule that the children aren’t allowed to visit the significant other’s home.
When You Suspect There’s Been Abuse
If you suspect your ex’s new boyfriend or girlfriend has abused your children, it’s important to document everything in detail. Listen to, and make a record of whatever your child tells you, but try not to ask too many questions, especially if the children are very young. Very young children may accidentally give you false information if they aren’t questioned properly. If you suspect your child’s been abused, it’s important that they’re interviewed by a trained professional.
A lot of parents may be tempted to go straight to DCFS. Although DCFS is a resource, they could potentially cause problems for parents who are trying to protect their children. Just because you can somewhat decide when DCFS enters your life doesn’t mean that you can decide when they leave your life. Instead of calling DCFS immediately, it may be a good idea to have your child evaluated by a psychologist or a medical doctor. This way an unbiased professional can evaluate the child. It is generally advisable to discuss concerns or issues with your ex. It would be best to discuss the concerns with an attorney to obtain more information and advice regarding your specific facts and circumstances.
When You’re Ready to File for Divorce
If you’re ready to file for divorce, it’s always a good idea to speak with an expert who can give you advice that’s tailored to your situation. At CoilLaw, we can help you get the best outcome available. If you’re ready to file for divorce, contact CoilLaw today for an initial consultation.