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It is not unusual to experience conflicting emotions when your ex-spouse or partner meets someone new. Feeling hurt, upset or anxious is common. Difficulties can often arise when your child is introduced to the new person in your ex-partner’s life.
If you share parental responsibility with your ex-partner, it is important to understand that you both have the same rights when it comes to caring for and raising your child. Parental responsibility is defined by section 3(1) of the Children act 1989 as “…all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent has in relation to the child and his property.”
When your child spends time with their other parent, it will be for the other parent to make decisions about how that time is spent. It is also up to your ex-partner to make the rules in their own home and to choose how they wish to parent your child. If you have a good relationship with your ex-partner, it may be possible to agree rules and a parenting style which can be implemented in both households. Where this is not possible, it will be for each of you to decide what happens in your respective homes.
The introduction of a new partner can be a daunting prospect for both you and your child. Although you may not want your child to spend time with your ex’s new partner, you should try to set aside any negative feelings that you may have. This will help your child to adjust to their other parent’s new circumstances and is likely to be in your child’s best interests in the long-term.
You may be able to agree with your ex how the introduction happens (e.g. after what length of time and should you meet them before your child) but it is inappropriate for you to ask them not to do it at all unless there are justifiable safeguarding reasons.
If you are worried about your children when they are in your ex-partner’s care, there are steps you can take. Where genuine safeguarding concerns arise, you may need to reconsider the arrangements for your child. Any concerns or worries that you have, you should discuss directly with your ex-partner first and if you are able to do so.
If you do have concerns about your child spending time with your ex-partner, or are having difficulty in agreeing the arrangements, please contact our experienced Family Team for assistance.