father and sons at sandy beach near the sea on windy day

Following separation, the introduction of a new partner to your children can be a highly contentious issue. It is a reality for many separated parents that they will eventually meet someone who they feel will be a long term partner, and who they therefore want to meet their children.

Very often however, the other parent will have some concerns about this, and the question is whether they have any legal standing to prevent you from making the introduction.

Safeguarding issues

If there are no safeguarding issues in respect of your new partner, the starting point is that either parent can allow the children to meet or spend time with anyone else, while the children are in their care. It would be for the other parent to apply to Court for an order to prevent the children from spending time with a specified person, and the parent making the application would have to have a justification for doing so.

This said, the parent making the introduction should always act in the best interests of the children. They should therefore think carefully about the emotional needs of the children, and whether meeting the new partner (and, if relevant, any children of the new partner) is beneficial for the children. It is therefore important to consider issues such as the age and personalities of the children, and the speed of the introduction, for example.

Preventing introductions

Although the other parent has limited grounds to prevent any introduction, it is generally best that the meeting between the children and the new partner is done in conversation with the other parent. It can be a difficult conversation to have but it is beneficial for the children for their parents to have an amicable relationship. As such, making the other parent aware of your intentions and allowing them an opportunity to raise any concerns can reduce animosity down the line. Further, the other parent can then be a support to your children, should they have questions about your new partner.

If on the other hand there are genuine reasons why the children should not be introduced to the other parent’s new partner, such as a history of aggressive, abusive or inappropriate sexual behaviour, then you should speak to a solicitor as soon as possible about how to prevent contact between the new partner and your children.

Harriet Wigmore is a solicitor in the family team in Exeter. Our family law team has been ranked as the best in Devon and Cornwall by Chambers and The Legal 500, the two leading independent legal guides. If you would like to discuss chilren and finance upon divorce or any other family law issue Harriet can be contacted on 01392 210700, by email solicitors@stephens-scown.co.uk