Can I stop my ex from introducing his/her new partner to our children?
Many people dread the thought of their co-parent entering a new relationship and having their new partner present during their parenting time. If the separation is recent, the emotions are intensified and the presence of the new person can be triggering. This is especially true if infidelity or the new person was somehow involved in the breakdown of the relationship.
Unfortunately, in many situations a parent does not have a choice in who the other parent has present during their parenting time. Parents with routine decision making responsibilities have the freedom to choose who can be present during their parenting time. This includes bringing around acquaintances, co-workers, family members, friends or new love interests.
Can I take away his/her decision-making powers?
If a co-parent demonstrates poor judgment and makes decisions that are harmful for the child, then it may be necessary to explore the way decision-making responsibilities are shared or to have conditions in place to protect the child from harm. However, unless there is a pattern or legitimate concern, it may be perceived poorly to ask to address decision-making responsibilities for the reason of the other parent has entered a new relationship. Parents should seek legal advice before taking legal action in this regard.
My kids hate the new girlfriend/boyfriend. Can I reduce his/her time?
Parents should seek assistance in difficult situations where the children are uncomfortable. If the children experience new or difficult feelings or a drastic change in behaviour, parents should consider counselling or therapy services. Mental health services can help children (and parents) learn coping strategies, assist with damage control and resilience. If costs are a concern, this should not be a deterrent as there are affordable or free options available in our community.
The support of a mental health professional is an asset that should not be overlooked, especially when dealing with a contested or high-conflict family situation. If the issue proceeds to court, it’s important to clearly identify the problem and explain the reasons and that a change in parenting, decision-making or conditions are necessary. An experienced legal team and/or mental health team can help with this process.