I’m always amazed how people that are divorced or separated seem to rush right into a new relationship. The concern is that this relationship will not last although the parent will likely argue that this time is different. The other parent will likely have a number of concerns. The first concern by the other parent is that this parent will have a number of relationships and if the child is exposed to all of these people, the child will harmed psychologically. The other concern is that the person poses a danger to the child. When the parent has a new girlfriend, the most common “danger” is smoking or substance abuse. If the parent has a new boyfriend, the most common “danger” is physical abuse or substance abuse, possibly based upon the boyfriend’s past record. I have seen a number of women clients meet a guy and move him into the house without knowing much about him. All of them have told me that they know about his background and that they trust him. Of course, as the case goes on, more of the boyfriend’s background comes out and often times, the parties break up as a result.
I’m not here to tell people who to date but rushing into a relationship and bringing the new paramour around the child or even worse, moving that paramour in, could cause big problems. Even if you are 100% convinced that the child will not be harmed in anyway, you have to figure out how the other parent will handle this issue. In the examples I have provided, these women spent a ton of money to fight over a new paramour who left them before the case was over. Thus, if the other parent will give you a big problem, you have to really figure out whether its worth it to fight over this new paramour who may wind up leaving you when things get difficult. Remember, I’m sure you had no plans on breaking up with the other parent and yet, you did. Thus, while you may indeed stay with this new paramour forever, the odds are against it. Either way, I think the money spent on lawyers fighting over this issue is better spent on a college fund.
This of course doesn’t mean that the new paramour has to stay away forever. Instead, take baby steps when you introduce the new paramour to the child and try to get the input from the other parent. After all, they will likely be in the same position at some point.
This was very difficult because our client went to court without a lawyer and got a final restraining order against him. Adding insult to injury was that he filed a number of frivolous motions which not only upset the judge but it made him look crazy. This in turn led to an award of counsel fees to the other side. Speaking of the other side, they had one of the top local law firms on their side. Thus, the cards were stacked against us. Although it took about 6 months, we chipped away at the case little by little, steadily making progress. My client went from having almost no visitation to supervised visitation to unsupervised visitation on a regular schedule. This despite the incredible resistance that the other side constantly put up including weekly allegations against our client.