Overnight Visitation: Can his girlfriend sleep over when he has the kids?

Men can be so predictable. It’s such a classic situation: almost as soon as you and your hubby decide to separate, he has already caught the next one in his web. It’s hurtful to you, of course, because you’re barely coming to grips with the idea that your marriage is over and he is already dating before you’re even divorced.

Not only are you being replaced (or, at least, it feels that way) but he doesn’t waste any time before she moves in, bringing her children with her. Suddenly, alarms start going off in your head, and you can feel your inner grizzly bear start to come out. Not only are you indignant about her presence in his life at all, but now he’s involving your children, too!

This is one of the most emotionally difficult divorce scenarios I see, but it’s not unprecedented. There are a couple of things we can do to help alleviate the stress you’re feeling in this scenario, too.

Most courts don’t really care what your child’s father does with the children during daylight hours. As long as it’s not harmful to the children, the court probably won’t stop him having his girlfriend and her children (if she has any) over to visit with him and your children. Of course, there’s a difference between an outing with the children to go to Busch Gardens, and your child’s father taking your children to see his new girlfriend at the strip club where she works.

As far as overnight visits go, many judges will restrict overnight visitation with a paramour when the children are present. We often ask for this at pendente lite (temporary support) hearings, and usually the language of the court’s order says something like, there shall be “no unrelated overnight guests of the opposite sex while the children are present.” In most cases, either the judge will order it or opposing counsel will agree to it. Notice, though, that this provision doesn’t only limit his ability to have overnight guests while the kids are there—it limits you, too.

It’s often a provision that we include in our separation agreements, too. Though your husband doesn’t have to sign the agreement exactly as we present it, it’s one of those things that usually stays in. If he agrees to it and then violates the agreement, we can take him to court on a show cause, and the judge can sanction him for failing to abide by an order of the court.

In most cases, we’re able to work out something that doesn’t allow him to have his girlfriend around the children overnight. Of course, the judge won’t restrict overnight visitation if he later marries his girlfriend. You really only have the power to restrict overnight visitation while he’s single and unmarried.

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