By: Jazmyne Betters
Co-parenting with a former spouse may present certain difficulties depending on the nature of the relationship between the parents. That relationship may be further complicated if the parent has entered a new relationship.
“The other parents new relationship should not bring new issues to co-parenting.”
Some of the common issues with mom or dad dating a new person are: (1) Visitation and (2) Pick Up/ Drop Off
I Do Not Want them Around My Child Because of _________ So I Will Not Allow My Child to Visit With their Father/ Mother
While most parents prefer to meet the person who will be involved in their children’s lives, the failure to have that face-to-face does not give the parent the ability to deny visitation to the other parent. Absent the ex’s new beau being a registered sex offender, Texas courts won’t intervene in “new relationship” matters. And even in the case of a parent dating, living with or intending to marry an individual with that status, they are only required to notify the other parent–not request permission.
Visitation agreements are legally binding, so if a parent violates this agreement by withholding visitation, they could be found in a contempt of a court order which is punishable by a fine, jail time or both for each alleged violation. Although a parent may have valid concerns for not approving of the other parents significant other, the actions cannot run afoul of the court order.
If My Child’s Father/ Mother Cannot Pick them Up, I will not allow their significant other to pick them up
Many times a parent is unable to pick up their child or drop them off due to their work schedules or other extenuating factors. In these cases, electing the new significant other to perform this duty may be complicated if the other parent has not been introduced to them. Can a parent refuse to release the child to this person? Under the General Terms and Conditions of a court order, a parent may designate any competent adult to pick up and return the child.
If a parent fails to surrender the child to a competent adult that the other parent has designated, it is analogous to the parent being denied their visitation time. Therefore, the same consequences of jail time and/ or a fine may apply.
Co-Parent and Communicate Before Conflict
Relationships boil down to a two things–communication and respect. The parents have an obligation to their children first and to decide what is in their best interest. In blended families and co-parenting, it involves having sometimes difficult conversation regarding the best time to introduce a significant other, the role of this significant other in the children’s lives and if the children are adjusting properly. The other parents new relationship should not bring new issues to co-parenting.
If your visitation is being denied, contact us.