Navigating child custody and visitation after the divorce can be difficult. When your ex starts seeing someone, you may be concerned.
If you have reason to believe that your ex’s new partner could be a threat to your child’s well-being or is a bad influence on them, then you need to take steps to protect your child. So, can you modify an existing child custody order based on whom your ex is dating?
Only a court can decide
The family court will be open to modifying a child custody order provided that such modification is in the best interests of the child. That said, dating a new person, in and of itself, does not justify custody modification. However, if your ex’s partner’s lifestyle or actions are adversely affecting the child, then the court will consider a modification. Here are some of the questions the court may ask when considering such modification:
- Are there incidents of domestic violence between your ex and their partner?
- How safe is the child in the new living arrangement?
- Are there incidents of drug and substance abuse?
- Does your ex’s partner have a criminal record (like human trafficking, child abuse and sex offense record)?
Sometimes, a parent might have reduced interest in custody or visitation. Reduced interest in parenting that is attributable to their new relationship can also justify custody modification.
How do you tell if your ex’s new partner is a problem?
It’s not uncommon for children to be unhappy when their parents start seeing someone else. However, the following signs should prompt you to take action:
- If they report a fight between your ex and their partner
- If they suddenly do not want to spend time with the other parent
- If they talk about drugs and substance abuse in the other parent’s home
No law prevents your ex from dating again after divorce. If their partner is a threat to your child’s well-being, however, you need to act. This may include petitioning the court for custody modification.