An advice column in the Boston Herald recently provided the following answer to a frequently asked question. The reader asked whether she should introduce her new boyfriend to her children, and maybe invite him to move in, before her divorce was final . She had been married to an abusive man for years and is now seeking alimony, child support and sole legal and physical child custody.
The answer, written by a Boston-area attorney said that it is best to wait for at least several months after the divorce is final before introducing a new significant other to the children. The reasons:
- If the husband wants to contest the proposal for sole legal child custody, he could use the new boyfriend as ammunition
- It's usually better for the kids if they don't have to adjust to a new person in the family right after a divorce
- Adultery is still a crime in Massachusetts, even if there have been no prosecutions for 75 years
Even if the woman keeps her boyfriend a secret, the judge could still rule against her in the custody, alimony and child support disputes. Massachusetts law requires judges to presume that parents will have shared legal custody of children. However, the judge then examines the facts to determine whether shared legal custody is in the best interests of the children.
For the mother to obtain sole legal custody, she would need to prove that her ex showed consistent negative behaviors such as:
- Spending little time caring for the children
- Abusing the mother in front of the children
- Physically abusing the children
- Failing to participate in the decision-making process regarding the children.
In short, even if the mom keeps her new boyfriend under wraps, there is no guarantee that the judge will view her husband the way she does.
Source: Boston Herald, The Edge, "Don't introduce new beau before divorce," Jun. 8, 2014.
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