Following a separation, moving on and starting a new chapter in life is a natural desire for both parties. However, when this involves your ex introducing the children to their new partner, it can be an emotional and challenging situation. Many parents wonder if they can prevent their ex from introducing their children to a new partner, at least until the relationship becomes more serious or a significant amount of time has passed.
Generally, when children are in the care of a parent, that parent has the right to decide who else can spend time with the children. The Family Law Act considers decisions like this as “day-to-day” decisions. This means a parent has the right to determine who their children spend time with, without consulting their ex-partner. For example; if your ex is dating someone new, it’s up to them to decide whether or not to introduce the children to the new girlfriend/boyfriend. You cannot forbid or exert control over who your ex-partner brings into your children’s lives without the backing of the family court.
Grounds for Restraining Contact
If you have genuine concerns about the children spending time with a specific person, the Family Law Act does grant the Court the power to issue an injunction, restraining a parent from bringing the children into contact with certain individuals. To obtain such an order, there must be evidence that the individual’s conduct poses a risk to the children and that spending time with that person is not in their best interest. For example, a hunch or because you don’t like them is not grounds for an injunction. If you have genuine concerns about your child’s safety, it is advisable to seek specific legal advice as soon as possible.
A Question for Self-Reflection
In reality, it is often a matter of being honest with yourself and asking whether you have genuine concerns about the children’s safety and well-being around another person when they are with your ex-partner, or if it is simply an emotional response to your ex moving on. Separation can be a difficult time for everyone involved, and there are various support services available to provide assistance and guidance.
Refusal to Spend Time with the Other Parent
It can be distressing for any parent when their children refuse to spend time with their mum or dad. This situation can arise due to feelings of loyalty, discomfort, or resistance to change. As a parent, it’s important to address this issue with sensitivity and understanding. Allow your child to express their concerns or fears. Creating a safe space for discussion and actively listening to their perspectives can help identify the underlying causes and find constructive solutions. In some cases, seeking professional assistance, such as family counselling or mediation, may be beneficial to facilitate a healthier transition for the children and foster a more harmonious co-parenting dynamic.
Understanding a Child’s Role in Decision-Making
In Australia, there is no set age at which a child can decide who they want to live with. The Family Law Act prioritises the best interests of the child in determining parenting arrangements. While a child’s views and preferences are taken into consideration, the weight given to their wishes depends on their age, maturity, and ability to understand the situation.
It is essential to seek legal advice tailored to your specific situation rather than relying solely on general information. If you have questions about your circumstances, you may consider reaching out to “Lunch with a Lawyer” Lunch With a Lawyer | Answering Family Law Queries | New Way Lawyers or other available resources. Remember, the information provided here is not intended to replace legal advice.
About New Way Lawyers:
New Way Lawyers is Australia’s first non-profit law firm, established more than 13 years ago to offer an alternative approach to family law. Founded by Carolyn Devries, New Way Lawyers provides comprehensive family law advice and representation based on the principles of excellence, care, accessibility, and innovation.
For those interested in joining the “Lunch with a Lawyer” group, you can find it on Facebook and request to join. Additionally, you can contact New Way Lawyers directly for a free 20-minute consultation at (07) 3548 5890. They have recently expanded their services and opened a new office in Victoria.