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Wife and I are divorcing, can I prevent her new boyfriend from moving in with her and my children?

Bellingham, MA |

We are not divorced yet and I know my wife has a new boyfriend. I am afraid that once I am out of the house that he will move in with her and my 4 boys who are all under the age of 13. I am and will continue to pay for the mortgage. Is there a waiting period that needs to happen before he can move in?

I am located in MA

Attorney Answers 4

  1. Generally, there is nothing you can do to prevent your soon to be ex wife's boyfriend from moving in. However, if you feel that he may be a negative presence in the home and around your children, you can file a motion to prevent this from happening but would need to show significant grounds for preventing this ( for example: a danger or physical or emotional threat to your children). Another thought for you to consider is that if he indeed does move in, you can make a motion to limit your financial contributions based on your wife's new living situation.
    Good luck with this situation.

  2. I actually disagree with Attorney Baron who also weighed in on this question. I always oppose a spouse moving in their new boyfriend/girlfriend during the pendency of a divorce when there are minor children involved, and in this case there are four. I find it to be totally inappropriate and confusing to the minor children who are already going through a very traumatizing situation with their parents divorcing. I have never had a judge not order this when I have requested it in a motion and therefore I believe most if not all judges share this same philosophy. I would absolutely oppose this if I were you, it is not in the best interests of the children.
    Once the divorce is complete however, it can be a different story. You would generally need a compelling reason to keep the boyfriend out of the home after the divorce. Without knowing more about the situation I can not advise you appropriately.

    Good Luck.

  3. I would certainly opposed any new significant other moving in with spouse and children, particularly those of young ages, during the pendency of a divorce. This can be both confusing and traumatizing to children. They've lost one parent as a constant resident in their home and now, there is a new person that they usually do not know well living in their home. Additionally, if this is happening during the pendency of divorce, the relationship of the spouse and new boyfriend/girlfriend is relatively new and arguably, it is not an appropriate time to be introducing children.

    I have had success with this argument in Court. The argument is enhanced if there is any type of safety issue or other valud reason why the Court should find issue with this particular person living in the home.

    Christine G. DeBernardis, Esq.
    (978) 777-5393

  4. I believe that the major differences in the other answers provided to this question are due to some ambiguity in your question. It is unclear whether the boyfriend moving in is just a concern you have or a likelihood based on some evidence.

    If you are simply afraid that some day your wife's boyfriend may move in then their is very little the court can do about that right now. The court is not very good at dealing with "what if" questions and is better at dealing with immediate problems. You may be able to agree to some restrictions on cohabitation if you are continuing to pay for the former marital home, but it is unlikely the court would order such limitations after the divorce was final. Once the divorce was final, the court is only going to concern themselves with a boyfriend or girlfriend moving in if that person presents a danger to the health, safety or welfare of the children.

    On the other hand, if you have reason to believe that your Wife intends to have her boyfriend move in immediately (or very soon) then you may have a reasonable case to make to the Judge. This is the assumption the other answers make, and I agree that most Judges would probably restrict a boyfriend or girlfriend from moving in while a divorce was pending. There is not an exact amount of time that the Court is going to impose as reasonable before this is appropriate, but during the pendency of the divorce is probably too soon. Indeed, even introducing new significant others during the pendency of the divorce may be considered inappropriate.

    For more information about about how the court views shared parenting issues like this, I have included a link to the court's Shared Parenting Guide below. The Shared Parenting Guide indicates that children can be harmed when a parent introduces "a new partner without adequate preparation. Remember that children need time to grieve the loss of family as they knew it and may not be ready to accept a new partner." It might help if you shared this Guide with your Wife as well, because then the information wouldn't be coming from you, but instead from the experts.

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