Q: Can my ex request a meeting with my new girlfriend in order to allow her to see my kids?
We have an agreement that says that both parents will consult each other about who is going to be around when the kids are in their custody, now she found out that I'm dating and is requesting to see my girlfriend otherwise she is not okay with the kids being around my girlfriend unless she meets her, is there a legal basis for her to demand or control who the kids can see while in my custody? We have shared custody equal rights, our agreement says that both parents will consult but it does not say that we have to agree or get permission from each other. Thank you!
A: Realistically it should not be a problem, but every Judge and every situation is unique, so it is hard to know for certain. If your ex-spouse makes a motion based on the facts you provided, then it will be time to retain an experienced matrimonial attorney. With modern technology, you can be represented by any high-quality attorney in New Jersey irrespective of geography. Pick the best attorney you can find and remember one rule: a good attorney is generally never cheap, and a cheap attorney is generally never good so don't choose based on price.
The starting point is the actual language of the settlement agreement.
While you say the language only applies to communications between you and your ex, the actual language may be broader or there may be another language in the agreement that gives either/ both of you the right to speak with / meet any new relationship being introduced to the children.
Make life easy and sit down with an experienced family law attorney to review the terms of your agreement to see what is the best response to your ex's inquiry.
Or..... if you are confident in the person you are dating and confident that she is a good influence around your children, then you need to decide whether it makes sense for the 2 to meet. You may view your ex as a horrible person who will twist facts on their head to justify her actions and the question then is whether you are comfortable with your girlfriend's ability to constructively deal with your ex without giving away information that can be used against her / you in the matter ends up back in court.
The 3rd alternative is to agree upon a parenting time mediator to meet with your ex, you and your girlfriend to protect the contents of all communications and to ensure that your ex is asking legitimate questions.
A: Thank you for your question. There is no legal basis for your former spouse to request a meeting with your new girlfriend. Parties are free to make private agreements with any provisions they desire. Based on the information you provided, you only agreed to consult each other regarding third parties being present during your respective visits with the children. If she continues to insist on this meeting or limits your ability to see the children, you may apply to the Family Court to enforce the existing agreement. I urge you to schedule a consultation with an experienced family law attorney to understand your rights.
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