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Introducing a New Partner and Establishing Boundaries With a Co-Parent

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

When beginning a new relationship after a divorce with a co-parent, not everyone agrees with you beginning a new relationship. This can cause undue stress to you, your new partner, and your relationship with your child. Placing boundaries and procedures in place may be necessary to help everyone involved transition into a new status quo.

The end of a relationship, especially one that results in a child, causes pain to all parties. While everyone prefers co-parents put their pain aside to do what's best, this is not always the case.

Protect Yourself, Your Children, and Your New Partner

The introduction of a new partner may lead to emotionally compromised actions. This behavior ranges from inappropriate to violent. For this reason, many individuals consult their attorneys to determine what protocols to put in place. 

  • Establish boundaries: Establish what can be discussed, what behavior is acceptable in face-to-face situations, and how contact will be made between co-parents. Written communication is generally a better option as it is asynchronous and can serve as a record. Considering boundaries, what is and isn't appropriate, can help minimize misunderstandings and conflict.
  • Have a court order put into place determining custody: With boundaries, a co-parent might threaten to stop allowing visitation or threaten to move in response.  It will benefit and your child to have a court-mandated custody order to cement procedures for visitations, holidays, summer vacations, and other logistics in place. This minimizes the ability for a co-parent to retaliate or react irresponsibly. 
  • Consider parallel parenting: If a co-parent does not honor the boundaries set in place, parallel parenting gives autonomy to individual parents while minimizing communication. Ultimately, this is put in place in the interest of the child's welfare as it is intended to prevent conflict between parents in front of the child. This option further minimizes opportunities for inappropriate behavior. 
  • Consider if a restraining order is necessary: There are some scenarios when a co-parent cannot cope with the idea of the original relationship ending and, as a result, react aggressively. If you feel you and/or your new partner do not feel safe, a restraining order protects your household.

Reach Out for Help 

The sooner you put boundaries and procedures into place, the better. Having firm boundaries and a plan leads to less stress for you, your new partner, and your children.  

Don't hesitate to contact us for all of your legal needs. We want to ensure protection for you and your family during this transition. For more information on co-parenting, divorce, and child custody issues, please visit our blog.