Wooden blocks depict couples, one with child, other with new partner

Can I Forbid My Ex From Bringing Their New Partner Around Our Child? 

Law Office of Shelly Jean John April 26, 2024

Co-parenting tends to be a challenging endeavor full of emotionally-charged decisions. One of the most delicate issues that can arise is the introduction of a new partner into your child's life. The well-being of the children involved is your main priority, but what rights do you have as a parent to influence who enters your child's world? 

Understanding co-parenting laws in California is essential if you find yourself grappling with this issue. Here's what you need to know about your rights, your ex's rights, and the steps you can take if you believe your child's safety or well-being is at stake. 

Dissecting Custody and Visitation Rights in California

California family law recognizes two types of custody: legal and physical.

Legal custody refers to the right to make decisions about the child’s health, education, and welfare.

Physical custody refers to where the child will live. It's possible for one parent to have sole physical custody, for the child to live with one parent while maintaining shared legal custody (joint legal custody), or for both parents to share physical and legal custody (joint physical custody). 

Visitation Rights and the Standard Schedule 

In cases where one parent has sole physical custody, the other parent is usually entitled to visitation rights. California courts typically adopt a standard visitation schedule, but this can be modified if the parents agree or by a court order. 

The schedule may include every other weekend, one day a week, several weeks during the summer, and alternating holidays. The aim is to ensure frequent and continuing contact with both parents, as long as it's in the child's best interests. 

Factors Considered in Modifying Custody Arrangements

Family courts always consider the best interests of the child when making custody and visitation decisions. Principle factors include: 

  • The health, safety, and welfare of the child. 

  • The nature and contact with each parent. 

  • The child's ties to school, home, and community. 

  • The child's preferences, depending on age and maturity levels. 

  • Any history of family violence or substance abuse. 

If you believe a change in circumstances warrants a modification of your custody or visitation agreement, you'll need to show the court that a substantial change has occurred since the original order was filed and that the change would be in the child's best interests. 

Significant changes might involve relocation, financial difficulties, or changes in either parent's ability to care for the child.

Remember, not all changes warrant a modification. Seek legal advice from a reputable lawyer to assess your specific situation. 

Can You Prevent Your Ex's New Partner From Being Around Your Child?

Can you really stop your ex's new partner from seeing your child? California allows for third-party visitation under certain circumstances, but it's not an automatic right.

The third party (the ex's new partner, in this case) would need to demonstrate to the court that barring them from the child's life would not be in the child's best interest, only then may the court grant such rights. 

If you believe the new partner poses a threat to your child's well-being, you need to provide evidence to support your claim. Document instances or behaviors that you view as potentially harmful. 

Speak with a family law attorney to evaluate the strength of your case and to prepare you for the evidence requirements and arguments that will be needed in court. 

Steps to Take If You Are Concerned About Your Child's Safety or Well-Being

Document, Document, Document 

Keep a detailed record of any concerns you have about your child's safety or well-being when in the care of your ex or their new partner. This should include dates, times, and descriptions of specific incidents. Collect any relevant documentation or evidence, such as text messages or third-party testimonies. 

Seek Legal Counsel 

Do not take legal matters into your own hands. A skilled family law attorney will guide you through the process step by step. They can advise you on what evidence you'll need, help you understand the laws that pertain to your situation, and represent you in court, if necessary. 

File for Modification 

If you determine that a modification of your custody or visitation agreement is necessary, your attorney will assist you in filing the appropriate paperwork with the court. Be prepared for a legal process that may take time but remain committed to your child's best interests throughout. 

Consult With a Family Law Attorney Today 

Co-parenting with an ex-partner introduces a set of challenges that can be difficult to anticipate. When faced with a situation where you are uncomfortable with your ex's new partner being around your child, the law is very specific on how it must be approached. So it's always advisable to seek legal counsel to ensure that your rights are protected and that any actions you take are in the best interests of your child. 

At the Law Office of Shelly Jean John, we understand the complexity of family law in California. We serve clients throughout San Bernardino County and Riverside County and are committed to helping you through these tough times. Remember, the health and safety of your child are always the top priorities in family law cases. If you are facing co-parenting challenges and legal questions, reach out to us for the sound legal guidance you need.