Info & Advice

What are valid reasons for stopping my ex from introducing their new partner to the children?

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If you have justifiable and specific concerns related to your child’s safety, it may be possible to agree with your ex that they should delay introducing their new partner or that it is done gradually. This may avoid overwhelming or confusing the child, as well as giving you time to adjust and come to terms with the situation yourself.

If you are concerned that the new partner could harm your child, you would need to show specific cause for concern and provide the court with evidence the new partner poses a real risk. Examples of the kind of circumstances where you may convince a court that someone poses a risk include:

  • If they are a drug user or are addicted to other illicit substances
  • If they have a history of violence or sexual offences, especially if they involved children
  • Someone dependent on alcohol
  • If they have a history of other violent offences/criminal record

If the individual has a criminal record related to any of these types of issues, then it may be easier to get a court to agree they should be prevented from having contact with the children.

You may be able to apply to court for a Prohibited Steps Order which would prohibit your ex from exercising parental responsibility. The court will ensure that they make a decision based on what is in the child’s best interests and whether, in all the circumstances of the case, they should or should not meet the new partner. It may also be possible to apply for a Child Arrangements Order that the child lives with you, and if one already exists, it can be varied to deal with the issue in question. You will have to provide the court with robust evidence that your child is in danger and that it is in their best interests for the child to live with you instead.

If you believe your ex’s new partner poses an immediate threat or direct risk to your child, then you could contact the police and an injunction could be put in place to step your ex’s new partner from having any contact with your child. However, you will only be able to get an injunction against your ex’s new partner if you have strong evidence to support such an application.

Can I ask the police to do a background check on my ex’s new partner?

A background check on your ex’s new partner is one way people use to put their minds at rest. You can ask your local police station if someone has a record of sexual offences, although the person being checked upon will be informed a request has been made. This is unlikely to bode well for your future relationship with your ex, which may then cause additional difficulties when you have the children.

A private investigator is also another way of looking into someone’s past. However, it is important to tread lightly as you do not want to alienate your ex, or their new partner, who could be a part of your children’s lives for the foreseeable future.

If possible, it is always better to discuss with your ex whether you intend doing a background check on their new partner before going ahead. If you explain that you want to carry out a check to make sure your children are safe and not because you don’t trust your ex’s judgment, this could help reduce any bad feeling.

Introducing a new partner can be daunting for both you and your child, and it is perfectly natural not wanting your child to spend any time with your ex’s new partner. But you should try to set aside any negative feelings you have as this will help your child adjust to the other parent’s new circumstances, and in the longer term, is likely to be in your child’s best interests.

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