Child Custody: How Does A New Partner’s Background Affect The Decision

child custody factorsBy Robin W. Klein

Mens Divorce Attorney, Cordell and Cordell

Divorce lawyers for men frequently hear from clients that their wife has run off with “Mr. Wonderful” who turns out not to be so wonderful after all.

Understandably, divorced dads do not want their children spending time with a strange man they do not know, particularly if the boyfriend has a checkered past.

But how relevant is your wife’s new boyfriend’s background? If he has a criminal background, is that grounds alone to obtain a more favorable child custody ruling?

In determining child custody, the court’s first consideration is the child’s best interest.

The factors a court may consider in your particular case are the present fitness and recent past conduct of the parent seeking child custody.

A court may consider a parent’s recent past conduct as a reasonable predictor of the parent’s behavior and fitness in the future. The court can consider ANY relevant factor when determining the best interest of the child.

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If your wife’s past conduct was being involved with a man who was found guilty of a crime, your wife’s knowledge of the man’s activity could be a very relevant factor as to her fitness as a parent.

If she allowed your child to be in the presence of a criminal, she has put your child in danger which shows she lacks the ability to make decisions in the best interest of the child. This is based on the premise that your wife had knowledge of her boyfriend’s behavior or should have had knowledge of his behavior.

A court can consider whether a party’s sexual conduct renders that party unfit to act as a parent. A party’s sexual conduct is only relevant if the child was exposed to it or had access to evidence of the conduct.

This factor may or may not relate to the facts of your case, but it is a factor that may have some weight depending on the circumstances of the boyfriend’s activities, such as being charged with a sexual offense, and if they can be traced back to be in the presence or near the presence of the child.

You should schedule an appointment with a mens divorce attorney in your area immediately if you feel your wife’s new boyfriend’s behavior could be factor at all in your child custody case.  Make sure you detail all of your concerns and what evidence you have that your wife’s new partner is a threat to your children.


To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Robin W. Klein, an associate attorney in the Houston, Texas, office, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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