The issue of sleepovers with a new partner or latest flame raises its head in many of my divorces. During the divorce, courts in Michigan, where I practice family law, make it clear that this is a no-no.
What about after the divorce is final? In many situations, people will rush into a new relationship too quickly. Sadly, many people also rush into new marriages, often with divorce number two or three lurking on the horizon.
In Michigan, the courts generally will not forbid overnights with the children being present unless there is a clause in the divorce judgment covering that issue.
I have many cases where we negotiate a clause stating that there shall be no overnights with an unrelated party of the opposite sex while the children are present. In light of the legalization of same-sex marriages, it should also include same-sex relationships. If negotiated and part of a judgment or settlement agreement, the courts will enforce this.
Let’s look at certain realities:
1. Why rush and introduce your children to your latest flame?
2. Even in a serious or long-term relationship, be careful around the children. Think of the song “Fools Rush In Where Angels Fear To Tread.” There is a lot of truth to that.
3. The biggest problem is former spouses who go from one relationship to the next and bring the children into the picture too quickly.
4. Patience regarding new relationships and your children should be a virtue.
5. The key is what is in the best interests of your children and not what is best for your new friend or your raging hormones.
6. Remember children are too often the innocent victims or pawns in a divorce, and they should not be put in that situation in new relationships.
7. You are a role model for your children.
8. The example that you are setting, especially if you introduce them to frequent “friends,” partners, or flavors of the month can be very damaging.
9. If you are in a serious relationship, bring the children into it gradually and consider the fact that your children, in most situations, want you back with your former spouse and not with someone else.
10. This is especially true where the new “flame” contributed to the demise of your marriage.
11. If you and your new significant other are willing to be patient, then many of these issues will be resolved.
12. Caution is a virtue.
These are some of my thoughts.
What are yours?