As much as most divorcing parents wish they could be rid of each other’s presence in their lives forever, sharing children means constant contact even as both spouses transition away from their marriage. Even when spouses go their separate ways amicably, many events can trigger conflict - perhaps none more so than the presence of a new partner. When someone is co-parenting in Illinois and their former spouse gets remarried, the introduction of a third “parent” requires major adjustments and presents serious challenges. If you are in this situation, here is some advice from experts to help you manage.
Ensure Your Children Are Safe
Every parent worries constantly about their children, and it is natural to be worried or even paranoid about the presence of an unknown adult in your child’s life. While this worry will probably abate on its own as you get to know your ex’s new spouse, you still need to make sure your children are safe. At the same time, you never want to ask your children leading questions or make them unnecessarily suspicious or hostile towards your ex’s new partner. This can be a tricky balancing act, but use your parental intuition to guide you if you sense something may be wrong.
Try to Maintain Neutrality
You likely have strong feelings about your ex’s partner, and this is only natural. It is not easy to maintain a neutral relationship with your ex, let alone someone coming into the picture after your relationship fell apart. However, your children need you to maintain neutrality for several reasons. First, they need the chance to make up their own minds about this new person. Second, they need the stability you offer when you show them everything is okay. And third, children have a tendency to feel pressured to take sides in parental differences; research shows this can be harmful. Everybody benefits when heightened emotions are kept to a minimum.
Take the Opportunity to Have an Extra Pair of Hands
Feeling as though your children are developing a bond with your ex’s new partner can be incredibly difficult. Many parents worry they need to compete for their children’s love. However, kids are never harmed by having more supportive adults in their lives. If you can see your ex’s new partner in a positive light, his or her involvement may benefit you by giving your children extra support and presenting another pair of hands to help.
Contact a DuPage County Parenting Agreement Lawyer
If a new spouse has entered into your ex’s life, your legal parenting agreement may need an update. Ensure you have the protection you need to keep your parenting time secure and to give your children a peaceful relationship with both parents. Schedule a free consultation with a Wheaton, IL parenting agreement attorney with Andrew Cores Family Law Group by calling our offices at 630-871-1002.