When to Introduce New Love Interest to Children During Divorce or Custody Dispute? (Ep. 18)

After a divorce, it can be easy to jump into a new relationship to distract from the emotional pain. But this is rarely a good option for the well-being of the children.

In this episode, Justin Sisemore and Andrea Jones explore the potential challenges of introducing a new love interest to your children after a divorce. They share personal experiences and offer advice on timing, communication, establishing boundaries, and prioritizing the well-being of the children. 

Justin and Andrea discuss:

  • The importance of taking your time to heal emotionally before jumping into a new relationship  
  • How to introduce a new relationship to children without replacing an existing parent
  • The benefit of a step-parent counselor when introducing a new significant other and taking the next step in a relationship
  • The impact of infidelity on the relationship between parent and child
  • And more!

Connect with Justin Sisemore

Connect with Andrea Jones:

Read the Show Transcript

Announcer – [00:00:00] Nobody wants to end up in family court, but if you do, you want an honest, experienced family law attorney by your side to help minimize the stress, mental anguish, and legal costs that divorce and custody matters bring. Welcome to In Your Best Interest. Texas divorce attorney and entrepreneur Justin Sisemore of the Sisemore Law Firm, entrepreneur Andrea Jones, freelance writer Mary Maloney, and guests share insight on what to expect and how to handle family law matters, the changing landscape of family law, and living the entrepreneur’s life. Now onto the show. 

Announcer – Whether you’re going through a divorce or ending a long term relationship, we all know breaking up is hard to do. Things can really get complicated when a third party is involved, especially when a couple has children. Whether the breakup was due to an affair or a party falls for someone after the fact, introducing a new [00:01:00] love interest to the kids is something parents really should not take lightly. The panel will discuss the whens, hows, and pitfalls of these introductions on today’s episode of In your Best Interest. 

Mary – Thanks for joining us for this episode of In Your Best Interest. I’m Mary Maloney and today Justin Sisemore, attorney with the Sisemore Law Firm, entrepreneur Andrea Jones, and I will discuss things to consider and the potential challenges parents face when introducing their kids to a new love interest. Great topic, Justin. I know we’ve talked about this before. So before we discuss the when and the how of introducing that new love interest, can you share your thoughts on why people should really be careful about getting involved with a new love interest when they’re going through a custody dispute.

Justin – Sure. I, I, you said, uh, this is a great topic and I hope it is. Um, I, I also hope that people use some common sense here. And I think we’re going to touch on some things that sound a bit common sensical, but, um, when we’re [00:02:00] looking at kind of the introduction of a new love interest and also the emotion that’s involved in a divorce case, it’s really easy to jump to the next person, um, as a distraction, uh, from what you’re going through. Um, and I think the challenge there is, is, is multifaceted.  One, you know, until you kind of heal, just like if you have a disease or anything else until you heal from the issue, Um, on a personal level, um, you can sometimes find yourself falling into the distraction person, as I call them. Um, and the distraction person feels really right for you, you know, when you’re involved in an emotional, uh, situation, you haven’t healed from it. And, you know, sometimes you can find yourself becoming attracted to things that, uh, really don’t play out long term, uh, the way they should. And so I think taking time and a breath and healing for yourself on an individual level, you know, we always hear, don’t let someone else make you happy. Uh, but the [00:03:00] reality is, you know, a lot of humans, myself included, need the connectivity. Um, you know, I need social interaction. I need to feel that love. And I know it gets lonely when you are first going through this process, especially if you’re on the receiving end where you haven’t had, uh, or this wasn’t your decision. And so the big thing there is just don’t dive in, um, until you heal. And, and, and, and I think from an attraction level, um, the other thing I see a lot of is people get they move too fast into the next relationship and while the case is pending, that becomes their sense of commonality or common ground. And so they really bond over the toxic things like divorce and a bond over you know, the process of divorce and how we’re going to protect the, um, the, the party that’s in the divorce process or the child custody case with the new love interest. And that, that can be very [00:04:00] challenging as an attorney, um, because you often have the opinions of the new love interest telling you how to run the case. Um, and you know, we kind of have to give them that tough love. Hey, with all due respect, you, you’re not the client. Um, and I know you’re trying to protect the interest of, of your new love interest, but we kind of have to keep you at bay, especially where there’s kids involved and, you know, so sometimes when the case goes away you know, the clients, I have them call me sometimes late, you know, years or months after a representation and they, they said, you know, you’re really blunt with my significant other at the time, but I’m glad you were because it seemed, um, you know, very invasive and I was in a situation of turmoil where I didn’t really know how to heal from it and it felt like that was my security blanket. And the reality was they were, you know, just really overstepping their boundaries and that plays out in different ways in the future. Um, so I think that you just take some time, use some common sense and, you know, we’ll get into the kid issues and the [00:05:00] complications there in a bit, but, but just, just really try to heal, um, on an individual level and don’t don’t compound a already difficult situation with an expedited decision with somebody that may not be right for you.

Mary – So in the real world, obviously affairs do happen, people get into new relationships. So people who are involved with somebody new, I mean, because it does happen, when is and isn’t it a good time to introduce that new love interest to your kids? 

Justin – I think, I think that, you know, the, the thing we have to remember with children you know, there, there’s never, in my opinion, going to be the absolute time to say this new person is going to be the person that loves me and you the way that, that your, that your dad or mom did. Um, but that being said, um, there are very healthy situations that arise out of new relationships. [00:06:00] Um, specifically when there was toxic relationships beforehand. And you know, I think that Um, from a standpoint of the healing pattern of a child, um, it certainly depends on the maturity level, the age counselors can certainly help with, with those situations, but you also, you know, I, I get caught in this double edged sword because I see, you know, situations where, uh, you know, I’ve got close friends that are going through this very issue, uh, as we speak, um, and I’m helping some of them on a legal level and many of them just on a personal level. Just be a soundboard for these issues. And what we see, uh, most frequently is one of two sides of the coin. One, you can’t evolve your new relationship or involve your new relationship to the, you know, to the positive side for a child to see a healthy relationship. And so then you’re kind of stuck between this rock and a hard place of when do I do it? Um, because I want my child to see what a loving relationship looks like by the other side of the coin I see people that literally dive into [00:07:00] absolutely asinine relationships, um, with people that never should introduce that child, uh, in the first place. And then the third, the third kind of prong that we see are situations where people want to get over the pain, uh, that they’re experiencing and the loneliness and they think that by just kind of, uh, throwing the child into the mix, uh, it will expedite that process and really cultivate the relationship. And I, so I think you’ve just got to really use common sense when it comes to the timing. And, and, you know, the, the, the health and maturity of this child or children, and also like you, you’ve got to look at the facts of what they’ve been through. You know, if it’s a situation where you’ve got kids that are 15, 16 years old and they’ve seen their parents, uh, you know, be out of love for years and they tried to hold the marriage together as long as they could. Um, you know, I, I don’t, I don’t think that it takes as long in that scenario as it does a 9 or a 10 year old that just learned that their mom and dad are getting a [00:08:00] divorce and you know, they thought nothing was wrong and, and I just, I think you cannot, the biggest thing is you cannot replace that parent. with the new person. Um, and it’s really important that you keep that mindset, no matter what’s happened to you. Because the child is going to go through different things as a result of new relationships and they’re going to see things and be exposed to those things, to those issues and, and the minute that you forget about your child and put yourself first or your love interest first you know, it, it doesn’t play out well on a personal level, which means that I have to get a lot more involved in the custody cases. And there’s usually a lot more animosity. There’s usually a lot more issues with the child and, and their, their development patterns with respect to school counseling, psychological issues. And so, you know, if you just bury yourself and we keep going back to this, use your common sense, be a good human, do the right thing take yourself out of the equation approach, but tha that, that really [00:09:00] heals a lot of things and so does time. And so I just think that the humility of an individual, um, can really help them, um, gauge that question much better than, uh, Sisemore sitting on a microphone can but, but I also think that mental health professionals are very helpful in that. 

Mary – Yeah. So you definitely touched on the fact that, you know, kids, they can handle this information differently at different ages. So parents really shouldn’t assume that every kid’s going to be able to deal with it. at the same time or at the same age. So bringing a family therapist into that conversation really is a good idea. And that’s something that you definitely recommend to your clients all the time. Right? 

Justin – Yeah, I just, I think, you know, what happens with people is, you know, you’ve got your mom and your dad and your cousins and sisters and friends, they, uh, they’ll tell you some things that sometimes you, you need to hear sometimes you want to hear, um, and it’s just good to have soundboards. I mean, you know, I can’t tell you how many client times I talked to clients and initial consultation, and I [00:10:00] state what I feel is blatantly obvious, but, uh, you know, you get in situations where it’s very emotional. And, and, you know, sometimes that emotion clouds just clear judgment and common sense and, and that’s no disrespect to people that are going through that. It is, it is literally a fundamental understanding of why it’s helpful to have a third party that’s never met you, uh, that has been saying some of the same things that you’ve probably heard before, but it just, it just resonates better. It feels better when you get reinforcement. And I get that compliment thankfully, uh, quite a bit that, Hey, look, it just, I don’t know why, but it just made me feel better to get, get this out of my, off my chest and, and talk through this with you. And I feel like that’s 90% of what we do. And you know, when it comes to the age of children you know, yeah. I don’t like to place labels on kids or attorneys or anybody when it comes to age or length of time. I mean, you’ve seen kids that are 17 and 18 year olds that have the maturity level of a [00:11:00] two year old and vice versa, you know, so you really have to gauge your child and take yourself out of it, but certainly, um, from a consistency pattern when it comes to involving those kids in those, in the scenario. Um, just remember, I mean, they’re healing from regardless whether it was an unhealthy relationship, they’re healing from the loss of all they’ve known all they’ve seen. And you know, if that’s something that they’ve been watching their entire life, even if it’s not something that was healthy, you created it. You allowed it, you stayed in that arena and it becomes habitual mindset. And so when you just strip it too soon you know, it’s, it’s no different than a company. It’s it’s when you just all of a sudden rip a key person out of that business, um, or a key person leaves that business. If you don’t have some, um, you know, offloading of that emotional impact and think about the human element of that for a second what you’ll find is, you know, a, [00:12:00] people won’t really jump in on board with you. And then, and your kids are going to do the same thing. And also, you know, I’m not oblivious to the fact that kids manipulate the situation as well. So, you know, they, they know how to be the water between the crack and divide the rock, if you will. And so, you know, if, if it is, well, you know, you’ve got a healthy relationship, you’ve done the counseling, you’ve waited the appropriate time and you know, your children at all costs just won’t accept the new human and sometimes you do have to rip that bandaid off and, and you have to be the adult and establish that, um, hierarchical pecking order again, while not saying this is your new daddy or your new mommy, but Hey, we’re in love. We’re in charge. You’re going to be respectful. I tell clients all the time, if you have a child over at your house that doesn’t follow the pecking order and doesn’t mind, it is literally like a tornado meets a volcano and you don’t want that in your household. So you have to establish that, that direct line of rule again. So [00:13:00] after you’ve done the common sensical things, after you’ve done the therapy and you’ve been patient with your children, sometimes it’s the alienating parent on the other side that just at all costs is going to say, Hey, You know, whoever your mom’s dating, uh, your dad’s dating is just a bad human. And they’re, you know, I see that all the time. The step-parent is the devil and all this. And so there’s no do right in that situation. That’s why there’s a movie called the step-mom, right? It’s all about, um, the, the human side of how difficult that is. Um, and I don’t pretend for a minute that, that the step-mom role is easy or the new person is easy, but the more humble they are when they come into the equation at whatever age you decide that that’s right to introduce what I’ve found is it’s, it’s beautiful. I mean, I’ve seen it with my wife and her family you know, they, their mom and step-mom could be no more opposite on the world. They’re very different humans. Um, but I, I like the village shaping people, you know, when, when the marital relationship didn’t work and it doesn’t mean that, [00:14:00] either party was bad or better or, and they, they’ve been through hell and back. And, you know, we all know what that looks like. So. I just think, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s a very, it’s a very age driven thing, um, sometimes, but usually it has more to do with the emotional maturity. 

Mary – So Andrea, I’d love to get your perspective on this because after you divorced, you waited a while to introduce the man who is now your husband to your kids. So if you could share your insight on that too, I think that’d be helpful for people. 

Andrea – And so I think the first thing Justin said, said earlier, priority are the kids at all times. And they need to be the priority, especially during this time, because remember, we talked about this many times, the kids identify themselves through mom and through dad. So they’re half, 50% of each of them. So that I think that’s the most important thing to remember that kids and, and, and, and the divorce is, is a traumatic event for, I think, any kid, the little ones don’t really understand, the older ones understand well. Our kids or my kids were between the ages of 2 and 12 so, [00:15:00] when I when I finally felt that I could get, put myself out there again, I only met my now husband on the weekends that I didn’t have the kids. So the kids had no idea that mama was even leaving the house. When my job schedule changed then I saw him during the week too. But I never stayed the night or anything. I had a babysitter and I told my kids I’m seeing a friend or a girlfriend or whatever. You don’t have to be in detail what you tell your kids. I’m going, mama is going out, but mama was home at a normal time. After many, many months when I felt that he’s the right one, then I introduced him to the kids, but also not, this is mama’s new love life, or this is your new daddy, this is a friend coming over to get to know you. And then we just had dinner together. He came over, had dinner and left. And then that’s it. I mean, there’s no interrogating, do you like him and who he is? Nothing like that. And over time, step by step, he showed up more and the kids got to know him. But I was not, he was not the new daddy or anything like that. He never spent a night when the kids were there. We only saw each [00:16:00] other overnight when my kids were gone. So the kids for many, many months had no idea. And when they saw him, just, he was still respectful and was not there. And then the other thing that we also did, he had, he had four kids. My husband has four kids, I have four kids and he was still raising two of them and they had a 50/50 Um, agreement and we both were in total agreement, we like each other, but we have six kids to raise together potentially and we said, if the kids do not get along, unfortunately we have to pull a bandaid off and go a different way because again, kids are the priority, which is a hard decision to make, but we both agreed. We’ll bring the kids together. If the kids get along, then we can move forward. If the kids hate each other, then nevermind. And we brought the kids together. And luckily from the first day on, they loved each other. They got along. I have twins, my husband has a son that is the exact same age. So having triplets, three boys at the same age, and then my oldest [00:17:00] was 12 and, uh, then we had two, two other girls in the mix. And I think that was the most important thing at the beginning, that it was a slow introduction. The kids had a slow introduction. His kids never saw me as the new love life either. I didn’t spend the night. They saw me just kind of like the same way and I think that’s what made it work and, and was a good, good way to handle that with the kids on the opposite side. My now ex-husband moved in with his, with his affair that he had, moved in immediately, and then lied to the kids and said, Oh, it’s just a friend and mama kicked me out the house or her attorney kicked me out the house, I had to, I needed a place to stay, so I’m going to stay with her. And from the very beginning, this woman acted as if she’s the mother of the kids, kissing them and I love you and all this other stuff, which was again, weird to the kids. At the beginning, my 12 year old kind of like looked through all that, but the little guys didn’t know. And again, it all comes back many, many years later, the kids [00:18:00] realize and the kids realize that you lied to them and, and don’t have a good, I mean, to have a good relationship with her because she’s a loving person, but they have many questions later on like, why did you lie to us? Why was it so fast? Why do we have to go to this woman’s house all the time, we don’t even know who she is. Why is she acting like mama? She is not our mother. And, and even to this day, when that woman makes comments like, Oh, um, whatever at graduation, I raised those kids too, I stand up my oldest one is very clear and so like, you’re not the mother because there is, there is some disagreement there, how she was introduced and, and that never stops. So again, from my perspective take it slow only introduce somebody when you’re really, really sure that this is the person you want to spend your time with. I’ve seen many bad examples, friends and family who’ve done a different thing, introduce the person when you are sure that’s the right person that you want to spend the next whatever, who never, you never know, five, ten years with at least. And then make it slow and, and, and, and keep the stuff different and one [00:19:00] tip I would also give, if you have to raise step-kids, I strongly advise you to do counseling, step-parent counseling, because you think you know how this works, because you raised kids before, but step-parenting is very, very different. And looking back, that’s one big mistake we made. We should have had step-parent counseling, especially with that many kids. But even if you have one or two, one of you doesn’t have kids, the other one has kids, or both of you have kids. I think it’s very, very important to, to take the time to go to a counselor and get some advice of all the problems that might come up. They might not be there when the child is two, but trust me, when the child is 12, it might come up. So I think that’s, that’s a mistake we made and didn’t do. We should have done that better. 

Justin – Yeah, that’s a great point, Mary. That’s already interject, but that’s a great point on the counseling of just how to learn how to be a step-parent. It’s like learning how to deal with addiction or any kind of disability. Um, you know, I’m going through it right now with my. My, my parents on the dementia side. And it’s, it’s, [00:20:00] um, you know, you get real angry at first and you snap for reasons that, you know, you’re not dealing with exactly the same person, the same set of facts. And Andrea hit it on a great point that we often just overlook that step-parent. And there’s really great resources out there for how you’re supposed to internalize or not internalize reactions from kids and the other side and your love interest. And, and once you’re armed with those tools, um, you know, you can better deal with the situations as they arise. 

Andrea – And especially if, if you have on the other side somebody that’s going to interfere, like my now husband came into the, the, the, the family after we were already separate for a long, long time, but he talked trash about my husband at all times. There was no reason there was no affair. He wasn’t even around when we got separated, but he talked trash all the time. And how do you respond to that as a, as a Mother to your kids? What do you say? How do you say that? I’m sure I made a lot of mistakes and in trying to set the record straight or and you shouldn’t. So that’s I [00:21:00] think the counseling will help you how to navigate the waters when there’s bad relationship on one hand. Again, my husband mentioned that many times. He has a very good relationship with his ex-wife that talked about everything. But then again, yeah. I’m not, I’m only the step-mother, I’m not involved. So how do you deal with that? So there’s a lot of topics that come up and I think having a good counselor by your side that you can see once a week, once every other week throughout the process, or can rely on when you have a question is a really, really good idea. Again, the kids are the priority and you can’t even imagine all the stuff that potentially can come up when you raise kids. You don’t, you don’t know. So somebody by your side is always a good idea. That doesn’t mean you’re crazy. I think so many people still think, Oh, if I have a counselor, there’s something wrong with me. No, it’s like Justin said, it’s a sounding board. Somebody that gives you a neutral opinion. That’s not on your side or the kid’s side or the husband’s side or ex-husband’s side that just gives you a perspective in just looking at the facts and has some experience in how to navigate those waters.[00:22:00] 

Mary – So, so Justin, parents who are the victims of infidelity, obviously, they might be a little bitter, obviously, so, but they should also be careful about how they address the topic of the other parent’s new love interest with their kids. As Andrea was alluding to, can you share some words of wisdom for those folks?

Justin – Yeah, I mean, I, I think Andrea really hit on a lot of the issues from a personal level. And when you look at, when you look at two different backgrounds you know, as different as, you know, her ex and new husband are, and then as far as the age of the kids and the integration of all of those age ranges and all of the turmoil that happened in that. Uh, relationship, her lens is beautiful for people to understand because she’s seen it from, you know, the pain points of, of the divorce process and all that, and is willing to share what a lifetime looks like and a lifetime merger of, of new and blended families and what, what the struggles they still go through with kids that have graduated law [00:23:00] school and have really succeeded and thrived. And, it’s a true, it’s a true pat on the back for, for people in the world, like Andrea, because I’ve seen her kids. I’ve met them. And you know, I know that having a single mother or being a single mother is not easy. Um, and so she’s done it all. Um, I’ve seen it firsthand with my mom and, you know, obviously new relationships and, and all that. And so, I’ve seen really a lot of facets of what this infidelity looks like a because I’ve lived it. I try to share those experiences with my family, with my, with my family law clients. Um, and I think it’s helpful like when you’re sharing your, your tough times and your deep dark issues, uh, for me to share you know, some of the experiences that I’ve had, um, and let you know what it looks like from the child um, you know, I’m not a child anymore, but, but what my experience is going through the evolution of that process on the receiving end, um, and then, you know, from the client’s perspective and then the court’s perspective, those are the human elements of what [00:24:00] we do in law.And so when we talk about you know, being careful about how we address the topic you know, I just think it’s really nice to get a perspective of, uh, when you’re involved in a divorce process, thinking about your kids, getting married and having kids getting kids. You know, a lens that’s a little bit wider and not, not focusing always on the here and now, um, I, you know, I kind of talk out of both sides of my mouth on this issue because I say don’t project and don’t conclude, uh, you know, we can only solve what’s here in the present now, but the reality is if you start to look at your kids, uh, from a lens you know, while they’re getting married and walking down the aisle. Um, sometimes those immediate things, uh, that are bothering you allow you to go, okay, I got to get through this. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re never done raising our kids. And so, you know, if I’m going out and, and I’ve been the victim of infidelity, and I am [00:25:00] compounding my hurt and pain by telling my children what that’s like, and I don’t have good tools and resources on how to do that. You know, and over time, I will tell you, like, even, even my own family, and I love them dearly, but, you know, I, I still have these little nuggets in my brain about things that both of them said about the other person. And it’s like Andrea said, you know, you want to have credibility with anybody, and especially your kids. And if you, if you have exaggerated or embellished, um, a situation to make your child feel your pain, uh, that’s really dumb, first of all. And second of all, when they get older and it doesn’t stop at 20, it goes to 40, 50, 60, uh, you know, you’re taking care of your parents. Things change and evolve as you’re trying to get help from your children, or you need them to do something, or you want them to do something, and you want them to express that love. If you have embellished and caused them hurt, and they’ve, they’ve gotten through [00:26:00] it and they’ve understood it. Even if you weren’t the person that was the bad actor, you can sometimes be the over alienator or the over exaggerator of, of what happened in that situation. And if you do that for too long, it becomes that, that boy who cried wolf and that when that boy grows up to be a wolf, sometimes it feels like he’s not loving or sincere. And the reality is now we’ve just heard a bunch of BS over these years. And you know, it’s just, uh, I know it was hurtful and I’ve been sensitive to it for a long time, but we have to heal as humans. You have to move on.

Andrea – And I think it’s also important, especially when you, it doesn’t matter which side of the coin you’re on when you’re talking about affairs, but I think I showed emotions to my kids. Yes, I did. But then also I came out strong on the other side. Because imagine your kids at some point, they might be in the same situation that their partner cheats on them. And if they never see you rebound and you be stronger and come out bigger on the other side, what do you think your kid’s going to do? Roll over on their back and cry and be depressed and never get out there? You… [00:27:00] copy and paste. They see you. Yes, it’s hard. I’m going through a bad time. I’m emotional, but I’m going to be stronger and I’m going to be better. Again, don’t share this stuff with your kids, but it’s not, I don’t think it’s bad to cry in front of your kids if you feel like it, or you can’t hide it. They can see pain, but they can also see that you get stronger and better over time. And then, you enter another relationship because that gives them hope that if something happens to them later on in life that they’re going to be strong and can come to you and ask you for advice and get out better because they’re going to have broken hearts when they’re teenagers and somebody dumps them and then they see mommy or daddy getting over somebody and then they can come and then that’s a beauty I think. And Justin said, you know, the kids never leave, they might leave your house, but they never leave your life, no matter how old they are. And they’re always going to rely on you. And obviously you’re always going to be the parent in all situations. So be a good example on all levels. Be a good example. 

Justin – Yeah. And, just on a final point on that Mary’s. You know, when you place all your trust and all your expectation and humanity and not the man upstairs, you will get let down. [00:28:00] There’s no question about that. At some point, your parents, your kids, your best friends everyone around you will let you down in some capacity. And so by, because we’re human and so by teaching them, Hey, look, this is how you get through a, an obstacle and this is how I dealt with this and I’m not perfect at it but this is how I’m, I’m working to get better. It doesn’t matter how extreme the situation is. You’re showing them that there is a way and a pathway to, to, to achieve a better sense of humanity. And I think, I get a little preachy on these issues, but, but it’s important to, in, in my opinion, express that to your children and let them see the effort that you’re making. You know, if you are overweight and you, you’re going to the gym and you’re starting out with one foot in front of the other half a mile, that that’s beautiful for your kids to see. That’s why I do this job is watching people heal from broken situations. And you know, it’s just a, it’s just a neat thing in my opinion, to see humanity make an effort and actually accomplish [00:29:00] change no matter how big or small, no matter how many days it takes to do it. 

Mary – So it might be good here to wrap up with, um, just talking about some of the legal options that people have, because sometimes you have, um, a party that will get involved with somebody that really is just kind of a bad actor for lack of a better description and it really could endanger that child perhaps. So what can parents do if their ex is involved with somebody who is a bad actor and it could be a possible threat to that child? 

Justin – Yeah, I I can’t encourage enough I’m not saying that you need to do a full on forensic evaluation of your new partner but you know, or background check but, but you really need to do your homework when it comes to the new person that you’re going to involve, uh, your child with, especially if they’re coming in and being overly sensitive and overly invasive while you’re still married. You know, we’ve all seen, heard of the Dirty John situations and[00:30:00] you know, you really need to get your background down because you can actually end up falling in love with somebody and putting them in front of your children in the court’s eyes and that can really impact you. Um, I’ve had several clients in the last year that, you know, it’s hard for them to make that break and they, you know, they, they want to come at me and say, Justin, you’re just not doing your job, you know, you don’t understand this individual. Um, but when you have a rap sheet that does involve children, family violence, any issues like that you know, you’re not going to see a judge not want to take a risk on that human. There’s just a lot of people out there and they’re, they’re, the judge is kind of like, why do you put them in front of your children? So when you have the dangerous situation, if you are the individual that is, um, engaging in dating somebody else while you’re in, in, still married or, or while you’re in a custody case you really need to, to understand who that person is from all areas. So don’t, don’t do the fly by night dating scene is what the point [00:31:00] but if you are on the receiving end of a situation where you know that your ex or your current spouse is dating somebody that is a harmful or in an endangerment to a child you certainly don’t need to, to sit by with idle, idle hands and be silent about it. You know, you need to make sure that you establish boundaries. Um, some of that can be in the form of email communications directly to the other parent. You know, I see a lot of people just hunker down, they don’t want to talk through these issues. You definitely don’t need to gaslight. You definitely need to expose the concerns that you have. Um, these are the facts that I’ve been made aware of. I don’t know whether they’re true or not. Or if you do know they’re true, I do know these are true. And these are the boundaries that I would like to establish.

Um, and if they don’t reciprocate. You need to have clear cut remedies in your temporary orders request, uh, for what those boundaries look like. It can be something like the standard TRO, which is limiting the time, uh, at which the parent can be around the other [00:32:00] person, um, from an overnight or intimate setting. Um, it can also be, altogether if they, if they have the, um, extreme fact patterns where they’ve, they’ve got a criminal rap sheet or they’ve you know, got some behaviors that are considered harmful. Uh, you can keep that person away altogether in the form of an injunction, but you do need to have the evidence and it can’t be hey, we, you know, we got along fine for seven months and I was totally okay with them taking them on a trip to Disneyland and then we got in a big text fight and now all of a sudden I want to keep that person away. It is time sensitive, just like the other issues that we’ve talked about are. So I think it’s important from a perspective of the interactions and what you can do legally that you remember courts want to try to preserve status quo and maintain, uh, what you guys have been doing for minimal disruption in the child’s life. Um, so if you’ve been an engaged in a pattern where y’all been doing week on week off, they’ve been dating this person for a while, or they’ve dated five other [00:33:00] people and for six years, you know, this has been the way it is. That fact pattern is a little different from somebody is now dating or engaged or married to a registered sex offender that you have decided, uh, is going to be in, in your child’s life. And it’s hard for me to you know, talk out of my one side, which is the, you know, the Christian loving side, um, which in forgiving side and, and not say, well, people can heal and then the legal side, you know, if you’re a judge and you’ve got 30 minutes to hear somebody’s fact pattern and you know, one party gets up and says, Hey, their new step-parent has, you know, X, Y, and Z and we’ve, I’ve sent these text messages, this is their criminal rap sheet. I’ve tried to do everything I can to keep them at bay and establish these boundaries. I haven’t been, you know, throwing those crazy messages back and forth. I haven’t been gaslighting all the things that Sisemore talked about. You know, but, but these are the issues and these are really concerning to me. And, uh, you know, you’d be a judge for a second. You’ve got 30 minutes to get an impression and somebody walks in with that fact pattern. [00:34:00] You know, it may not seem fair from a moral standpoint of we’re supposed to forgive and love our neighbor and all those issues. But from a legal standpoint, if you’re a judge, you’re not taking those risks. Because if something happens and it’s made known, it’s just like the drug addict or the alcoholic or whatever else. When you can prove those facts, uh, they’re going to establish those boundaries and I see people violate those all the time and it significantly impacts their custody, um, as a result. And usually we’re to blame.

Mary – All right. So if you’d like to contact the Sisemore Law Firm, you can call us at 817-336-4444, or visit www.lawyerDFW.com. We also invite you to follow the podcast and share it with friends who might find it helpful. Thank you so much for listening and have a great day. 

Announcer – Thank you for listening to In Your Best Interest. With Texas divorce attorney and entrepreneur Justin Sisemore, the content presented here is provided for information only and should not be construed as legal, tax, or financial advice. [00:35:00] Click the follow button to be notified when new episodes become available.