Judge Jones states “If either party contends that a specific dating partner of a spouse is in some manner physically, verbally or emotionally hurting the child, he or she may file an application, by way of motion or order to show cause as applicable, for further relief.” While the suggestions, at first blush are not only reasonable but sensible, it begs the question of how the parent who is not in the relationship knows or would know of anything going on in the other party’s home.It is axiomatic that most information in this vein would be provided by the child who is in the house.
That is a price some people may not be willing to pay for a new relationship.Once there is a request for an evaluation this may have the effect of the third-party leaving the new relationship if they are not committed to it or allowing them to change the problematic behavior.Either way, the result is probably in the children’s best interests. There were a few decisions on this issue in 1980’s and 1990’s, but obviously the country is in a far different place from a cultural and technological standpoint now than it was 40 years ago. The De Vita decision held that one party could request that the children be precluded from being in the presence of a new romantic partner of one of the parties overnight or in some cases, anytime at all.If there is a true danger to the child many children speak up or if a child is acting unusually there may be a need to have a therapist meet with the child.
In this modern time, when the internet tells many of our stories, this information may be available on the internet in the form of social media.
Judge Jones opined that: “The Court further notes that there may be in fact instances where a specific dating partner does in fact pose a specific threat of harm through inappropriate actions and/or comments.
For example, if one’s new dating partner has a history of child abuse, or is violent, or harasses a child, or actively misuses and chronically abuses drugs, engages in other specific behavior which subjects the child to an unreasonable risk of physical or emotional harm, the Court may exercise parens patriae jurisdiction and potentially grant an application restricting the parent from permitting that specific person around the child, in unsupervised or even supervised fashion, when appropriate.
This unfortunately puts the child in the unenviable position of not disclosing anything to the other parent out of fear that it will “get back to them,” or alternatively disclosing information to the other parent and requiring that parent to agree not to disclose it to any third-parties; i.e.
“sworn to secrecy.” Therefore, since information under the factors as suggested by the Court would generally only come from the child rather than a third-party, whether it is obtained from the child (which is not preferred) or general allegations are plead that would lead the reader to determine that the information must have come from the child at some point, the child is left as the source of the information.
” While the Court distinguishes such a restraint from the traditional “De Vita restraints” the problem which may arise in relying upon this language is that the parent who is not in the new dating relationship has to make an inquiry of their ex-spouse or soon to be ex-spouse regarding that individual’s paramour.