Serving Clients in Knox, Blount, Anderson, Loudon, Sevier & Roane Counties

Visitation: What if I Don’t Like My Ex’s New Partner?

It’s always hard when your ex starts dating again (especially if you’re still married to them). It’s even harder when you have kids.  Visitation can be tricky when you don’t like your ex’s new partner.

Many people want to keep their kids away from their ex’s new significant other. Unfortunately, unless your ex agrees to do this, it’s harder than you think. It used to be that courts would prohibit “overnight visitors of the opposite sex in the presence of the child unless they are related by blood or marriage.” However, Tennessee courts have recognized that everyone has a constitutional right of free association.

In a nutshell, that means your ex has the right to associate with whoever they want, whether you like it or not. Of course, your ex can agree to an order prohibiting visitors of the opposite sex, but if they won’t what can be done?

A court can prohibit specific people from coming around the children if they pose an “affirmative risk of harm.” This must mean that you can prove that there is a specific harm and that it is likely to occur. Is the new significant other on the sex offender registry, on drugs, or have a criminal record for violent crime? Then a court can and will likely prohibit them from being around the child. If the children do not like the new significant other or are uncomfortable around them, you will need a therapist or counselor to show that their presence is harming the children.

Keeping your children safe is undoubtedly a top priority for you, and it should be one for your attorney. Make sure, they are up to date on the law about third-parties around the children and know how to put on the best case to keep your kids safe and happy.