I have been divorced for a couple years and recently got engaged.
My children love my fiancée, but my ex-wife is very upset about the living arrangements and has threatened to call the police if our kids are left alone with my wife-to-be.
Can she do that? There is no clause in our divorce that states members of the opposite sex cannot stay the night or anything of that nature.
I do not practice law in your state and therefore cannot provide you with specific information or procedures. However, I can offer you some insight to your situation to be discussed with a family law processional whom practices in your jurisdiction.
If your state’s law is similar to Pennsylvania law, the court will not typically limit a parent’s ability to choose an alternate caregiver during their custodial periods.
However, if there is a reason, such as past criminal activity, the court does have the ability to limit the parent’s ability to choose a caregiver. For example, a parent may not be able to introduce a significant other or person of the opposite sex to the children for a specified period of time.
You have indicated that there is not a clause in your divorce limiting your ability to choose a caregiver. If that is the case, the court would not likely limit your ability to choose the caregiver.
There is also a concept known as the “right of first refusal,” which would grant the non-custodial parent the right to watch the children if the custodial parent is not available. The right of first refusal must be set forth in an order of court and typically has a time limit associated with it.
While your ex-wife can always contact the police, there is a chance that the police will not get involved in a domestic dispute and they should abide by terms set forth in a court document.
You can consider asking the court to include a provision specifically permitting you to choose a third-party caregiver but this may be unnecessary if your right to choose the caregiver is not specifically limited.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than tips on your situation, so please consult an attorney licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your potential case.