An Introduction to the Introduction of Significant Others

As with every issue in family law, there is no “one-size fits all” answer to the frequently asked question: What is the rule when it comes to introducing the children to significant others? In Illinois, there is no written law that says parties are barred from introducing their children to romantic partners until the divorce is final. Additionally, there is no recommended graduated schedule that the courts follow as a general rule. Courts always support doing what is in the best interest of the children. Since no one situation is alike, there is no “general rule.”
Divorcing parties most often reach agreements regarding the treatment of significant others. We see any number of arrangements which may involve not allowing the children to meet the partner or allow overnights until the relationship is considered “long-term”. Some parties may define “long-term” as dating at least 6 months. Some clients may limit the initial meetings to public places. An experienced family lawyer can suggest a number of creative proposals that meet the development needs of the children and sit well with both parents.
In some cases, where parents cannot agree on how to address this issue, they may opt to work with a mediator, a parenting coordinator, or child therapist. These professionals can sometimes help parties reach some resolution before resorting to litigation. One of our lawyers can help you determine if this might be an effective option for you.

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