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What rights do par­ents have to stop their ex’s new part­ner tak­ing part in rais­ing their children

Joint parental responsibility

With­out any court orders and usu­al­ly with court orders (unless it is deter­mined by the court that it is not in the best inter­ests of the chil­dren), both par­ents have joint parental respon­si­bil­i­ty. This means that it is both par­ents’ respon­si­bil­i­ty, not that of a new part­ner of either one of them, to make deci­sions about the long-term issues that will affect the children.

Long-term deci­sions and day-to-day matters

Long term deci­sions involve such things as which schools the chil­dren will attend, what reli­gion the chil­dren will be brought up in, any med­ical deci­sions, the liv­ing arrange­ments of the chil­dren and the names of the chil­dren. How­ev­er, the day to day deci­sions about the chil­dren, such as their rou­tines and who the chil­dren will see and spend time with, are usu­al­ly deter­mined by each par­ent at the time that the chil­dren are in their care. It is not nec­es­sary to dis­cuss such day-to-day mat­ters with the oth­er parent.

Lim­its of your influence

Gen­er­al­ly, you will not be able to decide whether the child will see or spend time with your for­mer partner’s new part­ner unless there are safe­ty con­cerns. Ulti­mate­ly, it is the chil­dren that mat­ter and if your for­mer partner’s new part­ner is mak­ing an effort with them and being kind to them, that is the most impor­tant thing. 

It is rec­om­mend­ed that you accept your for­mer partner’s new part­ner and work through your emo­tions with close friends or a coun­sel­lor. If at all pos­si­ble, try to reach an agree­ment with your for­mer part­ner about what is rea­son­able and unreasonable.

Gen­uine safe­ty con­cerns for your children

If you have gen­uine con­cerns about the safe­ty of your chil­dren or the adverse impact of your for­mer partner’s new part­ner on them, you should seek imme­di­ate legal advice. If you do have such con­cerns, it is pos­si­ble to seek court orders restrain­ing your part­ner from let­ting the chil­dren spend time with that per­son. A court will only grant such a restraint in cir­cum­stances where there are real con­cerns about the wel­fare of the children. 

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