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.