“Can My Ex Have A New Partner Talk To Me About Our Kids?”

One of the most touchy areas in a family law case can be when one parent has a new partner who becomes part of the communication and parenting process. In a perfect situation, this can be a good thing: a step-parent can help with communication, transportation, and providing a stable home environment. I have seen quite a few situations where the parent actually prefers to deal directly with the step parent and has a good relationship with that person.
Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Sometimes step parents or new partners have resentment against the minors, show favoritism, or bring a new level of conflict to the communication process. I have often heard it remarked that a parent changes their behavior towards their ex when the new partner is watching or listening.

What can be done in those cases?

First, you should be aware that a judge’s preference is going to be that the two parents deal directly with each other. If there is a problem between a parent and a new partner, the court will almost always order that communication be between the two parents only. A related issue is when parents are using the minors to communicate—this is a bad thing because it puts the minors into the middle of the situation, and the judge will almost always order this to stop.
The issues that are not as clear are day to day parenting and transportation. If there is a valid reason not to have the transportation done by a third party or new partner, the court will restrict it, but otherwise, it is considered a normal part of life and the logistics of having children. With parenting, the court will often make an order that a step parent now use corporal punishment or provide the discipline of the minor, but won’t restrict most day to day interactions with the minors unless you can show that there is a real source of harm. This will often have to be determined by interviews by minor’s counsel.

In general, it is best to try to resolve communication differences with clear requests for how communication should be done, but if you are unable to resolve the conflict in a reasonable manner, the court will get involved to at least tome degree to control the interactions.

DISCLAIMER: All legal principles quoted are valid as of the date of writing in the State of California. However, you should NEVER base your actions on a legal article, blog, or internet story, as facts in real life are complicated. You should have your case evaluated by an attorney experienced in the area of law needed for your case. In addition, there are often exceptions and potential changes to results that occur due to facts that you may think are trivial or unimportant. This article should not be taken in any way as legal advice on your specific legal matter.

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