Can my ex demand to meet my new partner
Child Arrangements  |  Child law  |  Family law  |  Mediation

Can my ex demand to meet my new partner?

Read more

Relationship breakdown will obviously usually mean that the parties will no longer have anything to do with one another (save, perhaps, for any ongoing maintenance liability).

But where the parties have children, and especially where the children are dependent, they will still have to deal with each other, to sort out arrangements for the children.

And of course the parties may enter into new relationships, which can add an extra dimension to those arrangements.Can my ex demand to meet my new partner

Co-parenting with new partners

If a parent enters into a relationship with a new partner then it is obviously likely that the children will come into contact with the new partner, especially if the parent and their new partner live together.

Seeing their parent with someone else may obviously be upsetting for some children (although many take it in their stride). Introducing children to the new partner should therefore be approached with care, perhaps on a gradual basis, rather than treating it as a ‘fait accompli’.

And consideration should also be given to the other parent, who may understandably have concerns about the children meeting and spending time with the new partner.

If possible the parent with the new partner should discuss those concerns with the other parent, and reassure them that the children will come to no harm.

Of course, it isn’t always possible for separated parents to discuss and agree matters in an amicable fashion. In such a situation there are two common scenarios that may occur: the other parent may want to stop their ex introducing the children to their new partner, and they may even demand to meet the new partner.

Can I legally stop my ex introducing the children to their new partner?

As mentioned above, the other parent may have genuine concerns about their children meeting and spending time with their ex’s new partner. Those concerns may be just general worry about the effect upon the children, or may be specific concerns, based upon information they have about the new partner, or what the children have told them.

If the parent is sufficiently worried they could apply to the court for an order restricting the children’s contact with the new partner, but this should really be seen as a last resort.

They should first try to discuss their concerns with the other parent, and could also consider resolving the matter via mediation.

If they do go to court they should understand that they will have to prove to the court that the children have suffered, or are likely to suffer, ongoing harm by having contact with the new partner. Merely being upset when they first meet the new partner is unlikely to be sufficient, as the court generally takes the view that if a new partner is a part of the parent’s life, then they should be a part of the children’s lives also.

Can my ex demand to meet my new partner?

Of course, simply not knowing the new partner can naturally cause the other parent to worry about their children’s welfare. They may therefore want to be reassured by meeting the new partner.

This can be a good idea, provided of course that all parties are happy to meet, but what if they are not? Can the other parent force a meeting?

The simple answer is that they can’t, and even the court will not force a meeting to take place.

However, again if the other parent’s concerns are sufficiently serious for the matter to go to court then the court will want to check that the new partner poses no threat of harm to the children. This could be done, for example, by the court appointing a welfare officer to investigate, and the welfare officer meeting the new partner.

How can we help?

For further information on how we can help you, please see the Child Arrangements page.

Walker Family Law is an award-winning family law practice, recognised as one of the leading family law firms in the South West of England with services covering family law & mediationdivorce lawchild-law and arbitration.

Please contact us if you require any further information