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Dealing with your co-parent’s new partner

On Behalf of | Jul 19, 2022 | Custody & Visitation |

The first serious relationship a parent gets into following divorce can be a challenge for the whole family. Maybe your ex is the first one to find love again and introduce a new person into your child’s life. You’re understandably feeling a mix of emotions – some of them negative.

How you handle this, however, can help provide a positive example for your co-parent when you have a new significant other. Certainly, setting a positive example benefits your child. Let’s look at a couple of key things to keep in mind.

Establish effective parenting boundaries

A new partner – particularly if they’re around your child a lot – will inevitably have some role in their life. That can be a good thing. A child can never have too many people who care about them. It also means one more person to pick them up from school, help them with homework or take them to the movie they’ve pestering you to see.

However, they also need to respect parenting boundaries. You and your co-parent should still be the only ones making major decisions about your child’s life. The new partner needs to abide by those decisions and not interfere. If they see a problem that you’ve both missed, they should feel free to speak up for your child’s benefit.

Everyone should be treated with respect

You have every right not to like your ex’s new partner – especially if they had some involvement with the end of your marriage. However, just as you shouldn’t speak negatively about your co-parent to your child, the same applies to their new significant other. 

Unless the new partner is truly endangering your child’s health or well-being (and not by occasionally taking them for fast food), it’s best not to make a big deal out of it. However, it’s typically better for kids when all the adults in their lives have basically the same rules and expectations for them.

If you and your co-parent are in conflict over the role of their new partner in your child’s life, it may be wise to make some modifications to your parenting plan to address the role of new partners and spouses. You should expect whatever rules you detail to apply to anyone you bring into your child’s life as well. Having sound legal guidance as you do this will help you amend your parenting plan in a way that benefits your child.