As a parent, it is natural to be concerned regarding the people who come into contact with your child. However, when it comes to your ex-partner, neither of you can dictate who gets to be around your child. Instead, a court usually has the final say in such matters, which is why representation by a Philadelphia family law attorney is essential.
In this article, the experienced child custody attorneys at Schwartz, Fox & Saltzman provide an overview of the laws regarding whether you or your spouse can restrict who is around your child.
Generally, Neither You Nor Your Ex Can Dictate Who Gets to Be Around Your Child
In most cases, neither parent has the right to determine who can be around their child. However, there are certain circumstances where the court must consider limiting contact with certain individuals. This includes new partners, friends, or family members.
Preparing for New Partners
If you plan to introduce a new partner to your child’s life, it is important to be prepared as this could affect your child’s emotional development and stability and cause tension with the other parent. Specifically, you should communicate with your ex-partner about your intentions and try to address their concerns. It is also essential to take things slowly and not rush into introducing your child to a new partner.
Overnight Visits from New Partners
The idea of overnight visits can be stressful for parents. If your child’s other parent has concerns about overnight visits from your new partner, it is important to be open and honest about your plans. You may be able to establish guidelines or parenting plan with your former spouse to ensure your child’s well being.
Concerns Over Your Child’s Safety
If you are concerned with your child’s safety and suspect ongoing abuse by your ex’s new partner, you can file a Petition for Special Relief under Rule 1915.13. The scope of a Petition for Special Relief is very broad. A court order can restrict your ex from bringing their partner near your child.
Convincing the Court
To prevail on a Petition for Special Relief, you must convince the court a true emergency exists. This will require you to present evidence which proves your ex’s significant other poses a significant risk to your child, e.g., the new partner’s criminal record, evidence of past abuse, etc. An experienced family law lawyer can help you gather the evidence you need to build a strong case.
When to Seek a Child Custody Modification
Under Pennsylvania law (§5338), you can seek a modification of an existing custody order if it is in the best interest of your child. If someone in your former spouse’s home has a criminal conviction, under Pennsylvania law (§5329), the court must consider whether the new person poses a threat to your child. Additionally, under Pennsylvania law (§5323(e)), the court order can include safety conditions in a child custody agreement which could prevent your ex’s partner from being around your child. Further, there are certain enumerated criminal offenses which the court would be concerned about, if new partner has been convicted of any of them.
Talk with an Experienced Family Law Attorney
If you have concerns about who your child spends time with, you must talk with an experienced family law attorney. At Schwartz, Fox & Saltzman, our family law lawyer can help you understand your rights and options and work with you to protect your child. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Summary of If Your Ex Can Determine Who Gets to Be Around Your Child
In most cases, neither you nor your ex can prevent each other’s family or new partner from being in your child’s life. However, you can file a Petition for Special Relief if there are significant safety concerns or risks to a child’s physical health. Additionally, you can also move to modify the existing child custody agreement.