I have temporary custody of my 4-year-old daughter and am going through a divorce. We split up in February, but I was on deployment until May so our daughter doesn’t really understand that we broke up.
I have since started dating someone and was wondering if I can introduce her to my daughter. I don’t want to do anything that her mother could use against me in court. The only thing unresolved in court is who will have residential custody.
I do not practice law in your state. Therefore, I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of your state and can only provide you with general tips on your situation.
Typically, I advise my clients not to introduce their children to any significant others while the divorce is pending. There may not be anything legally that would specifically prohibit you from introducing your daughter to your significant other, but doing so could be confusing to your daughter during a time when she is already making some pretty major adjustments.
Additionally, if your soon-to-be ex-wife learns that you’ve introduced your daughter to your girlfriend, this could be used against you if you end up in a lengthy dispute over custody.
Typically, in determining custody and placement for a child, it is the court’s obligation to try and figure out what placement arrangement is in the child’s best interest. Oftentimes, if either you or your ex-wife can point to something the other parent has done that isn’t in the child’s best interest, that can be used against you to question your judgment in a more general sense.
In Wisconsin, where I practice law, introducing children to a significant other while the divorce is pending is typically not viewed as being in a child’s best interest because it is often very confusing to the child and can therefore show a lack of ability to act in the child’s best interest and can therefore hurt a person who is seeking custody.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than tips on your situation, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your and how they impact your potential case.