Child Custody: When Ex is Dating a Bad Influence

Posted by Josh Valentine | Aug 07, 2019

Dealing with child custody and visitation with an ex can be hard enough. When the ex gets remarried or starts dating a new partner, that new person can complicate how parents handle child custody. In some cases, the new partner could be a negative influence on the child and the other parent has to seek a child custody post-judgment modification. 

If your ex's new partner is a bad influence or may put your child's well-being at risk, talk to an experienced North Carolina family law attorney about your rights and options to keep your child safe.

Can You Change a Child Custody Order Based on Your Ex's New Partner?

In North Carolina, the court will consider a request for child custody modifications based on the well-being of the child. A judge can modify a child custody or visitation order if there is a change in circumstances which adversely affect the child. 

If the other parent gets into a relationship with a new partner, that new partner may be a new influence on the child. Dating a new person or getting engaged to someone else by itself may not be a reason to justify a change in the child custody order. However, the new person's actions or habits may represent a change in circumstances which adversely affect the child. 

A new partner may also have their own children that could influence your own child. The new partner's child may pose a risk for harm to your own child, including physical or sexual abuse.

Factors for a Child Custody Order Modification

 Under N.C. Gen.Stat. § 50–13.2, the court will consider all relevant factors in determining custody that will, “best promote the interest and welfare of the child.” Factors in determining child custody and changes in child custody may include: 

  • Domestic violence
  • Safety of the child
  • Health of the parents
  • Drug or alcohol abuse by the parents
  • Parent's home 
  • Parent's environment
  • Parent's relationship with the child

In some cases, when a parent starts dating a new person, the parent may have less interest in custody or visitation with their child. This reduced interest in parenting could also provide a basis for a change in custody. 

Conditions for Visitation

The court may also require certain conditions during visitation for the child, based on the child's best interests. Conditions that may involve the parent's new partner may include: 

  • New partner cannot be present during visitation
  • Parent and partner need to abstain from consuming alcohol
  • Limitations on where the child can go 
  • Curfew or time restrictions with the child
  • Abstain from certain activities when with the child.

Signs There May Be a Problem With a New Partner 

Many children are unhappy when a parent starts dating a new person. However, there may be signs that there is a deeper problem when the parent is dating a new partner. Some signs of potential abuse or safety concerns may include: 

  • Child does not want to visit the other parent 
  • Child talks about drug or alcohol involving the new partner
  • Child reports fights between the parent and new partner
  • Child returns from visits looking disheveled or improperly dressed
  • Child returns from visits unusually hungry or tired. 

Child Custody Modifications in North Carolina  

The attorneys at Caulder & Valentine provide experienced family law services to individuals and families seeking custody or visitation changes to keep children safe. Contact us in Shelby today for a consultation.

About the Author

Josh Valentine

You could say Josh has a God-given ability for sustaining long-term relationships. He and his wife first met in elementary school and went to Gardner Webb University (GWU) together, where they tied for number 1 in their class. Then, they both started law school on the same day of their graduation and got married during their first semester. He has also known his law partner Blake Caulder since Kindergarten. Theirs is the perfect partnership. “He’s the brake; I am the accelerator,” Josh says. Both Josh and his wife attended an innovative program at Charlotte Law School that allowed them to complete law school in two years instead of the typical three. His wife graduated and passed the North Carolina bar at age 20, becoming one of the youngest attorneys in the state. He readily admits she’s smarter than him. Of course, Josh went on to pass the North Carolina State Bar himself and later the South Carolina State Bar. While in school, he was Associate Editor of the Law Review and received accolades like Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society membership, Order of the Crown, Pro Bono Honors, CALI Awards (highest grade). In his career as a lawyer, he has been admitted to the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, is a member of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys, and completed training for DWI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. Josh has also been named to the Top 40 Under 40 for Criminal Defense by The National Trial Lawyers, the Business North Carolina 2019 Legal Elite for Criminal Defense, and the 10 Best Attorneys for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys three years in a row (2016, 2017, and 2018). Community involvement has been important to Josh all his life. In high school, he participated in building a Holocaust museum that has become internationally regarded. He and his wife are actively engaged in animal rescue, which currently means seven cats and two kittens. He served in prison ministry and assisted with fundraiser banquets there, and he provides pro bono and reduced fee legal services to those in need. As if all of that weren’t enough, Josh also mentors high risk youth and helps with his church’s youth group. He participates in other community volunteer projects involving construction, remodeling, drywall, painting, and landscaping. He’s an active student of the Bible and has traveled to Israel, Brazil, and Europe for mission work. No one can say Josh isn’t a well-rounded individual. In his spare time, he likes to play softball, basketball, and tennis, and he can play the piano and trombone. Sometimes on weekends, believe it or not, he enjoys pouring and finishing concrete with friends who own a concrete and grading business. In his law practice, Josh has made it a point to develop positive relationships with officers, clerks, and district attorneys, which has proven invaluable in delivering positive results for his clients. It’s important to him to both listen to his clients and fight for them. Law enforcement officers have important responsibilities to keep our communities safe and uphold the law, but one of the responsibilities of attorneys is to make sure officers do their job correctly. Josh considers it his job to hold them accountable for their actions. Josh is a person of deep faith. He knows that the established order of our universe and strength of America’s Judeo-Christian influenced court system is built on God’s word. His passion to serve each client with innovation, excellence and integrity is a byproduct of his faith. When asked why he became a lawyer, Josh says, “All through my life, I have personally witnessed family members and very close friends endure divorce, child custody battles, bankruptcy, civil lawsuits, and even fraudulent criminal accusations. I both saw and experienced the stress such events can place on an individual, and I realized that everyone, at some point in their life, needs hope, comfort, and encouragement. In each one of those situations, the person who was best situated to provide that vital support was their lawyer. So that’s why I became an attorney. I understand what you are going through, and I’m here to help you. Our office is focused on meeting your needs and guiding you through what may be the most difficult time of your life.” Education: Charlotte School of Law J.D., Magna Cum Laude Class Rank – 21 of 328 Associate Editor of Charlotte School of Law Law Review Certification and Concentration in Employment Law Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society Order of the Crown Pro Bono Honors CALI Awards (Highest Grade)—Lawyering Process I and Contracts I Full Scholarship Gardner-Webb University B.S. in Accounting, Summa Cum Laude Distinguished Senior Student Award – Highest GPA Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honorary Society Bar Admissions: North Carolina State Bar