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Can I Stop my Children Meeting my Husbands' Partner?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 7 Dec 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Children Access Prohibited Steps Order

Q.

My husband left me for another married woman with 2 children under the age 3. We have two childen together, aged 6 and 8. It has only been 4 months and the children are still reeling from it.

He now wants them to meet his new partner. I have said no because of the situation and I think it selfish and unfair to bring our children into this horrible affair.

Even though I have told him I don't want them meeting her, he will do it behind my back.

Have I any legal rights to say that my husband can only see the children if I am present?

(Mrs HC, 8 October 2008)

A.

I am assuming from your question that the children live with you and that legal divorce proceedings have not yet been started.

As the children’s father, your husband almost certainly has Parental Responsibility for the children in legal terms. This means that he has a right to have a say about the children’s upbringing and welfare. Your husband is entitled to see the children and it is not really up to you to say how those meetings should be conducted.

By stipulating that he can only see the children while you are present, you are obviously affecting the relationship he can have with the children. If he does not agree with your demand, you cannot force him to comply. If you prevent him from having access to the children at all, he will have to go to court and apply for an order which forces you to give him access. Alternatively, you could go to court and apply for an order that sets conditions on the access your husband has to the children.

To prevent your children meeting your husband’s new partner, you could apply for a Prohibited Steps Order under the Children Act 1989. You would have to convince the court that it is in your children’s best interest not to meet your husband’s new partner because she would have an adverse influence on them. Your question does not mention any specifics in this respect other than your natural unhappiness about the circumstances. Going to court is not a decision to be entered into lightly and will almost certainly add to your children’s distress.

It does seem that your husband is not being very responsible and is rushing things by wanting the children to meet a new partner so soon after the end of your relationship. How does he know that this new relationship will last? Is it fair on the children to introduce a new person into their lives while they are still trying to come to terms with the huge upheaval they have experienced?

Although I am sure that it is hard for you to talk to your husband calmly, perhaps you could encourage him to read some guidance on introducing new partners to children. If you can persuade him that you are only thinking of the children’s best interests – and not stopping them from meeting the new partner out of spite – he might be prepared to listen.

If you cannot reach an agreement with your husband, you will almost certainly have to consult a solicitor to discuss the legal options open to you.

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[Add a Comment]
Dsilva - Your Question:
Thank you for your response.So just to clarify if he wants to remarry she can't use the children i.e. Say that she won't let him see them if he does??Thanks

Our Response:
She can try, if she stops him seeing the children, he may have to get a child arrangements order drawn up by a judge. The judge will not see your presence in their father's life as a reason to prevent contact, unless there is a proven risk to the children.
LawAndParents - 8-Dec-17 @ 11:19 AM
Thank you for your response. So just to clarify if he wants to remarry she can't use the children i.e. Say that she won't let him see them if he does?? Thanks
Dsilva - 7-Dec-17 @ 2:44 AM
Silva - Your Question:
Hi, I'm hoping I'll get some advice here.I have been seeing someone for almost two years who is divorced however every time he tries to talk to his ex about moving on with his life she threatens him with her not letting him see the kids or taking them abroad. I know he has access rights and has them every other weekend. I have told him to speak to his solicitor but have been told he already has and they say there is nothing he can do. As I am not aware of the law is there anything to stop her? Or am I being played like a mug? Surely an ex cannot influence what you do in your personal life and certainly not use the children in such a disgraceful way?I really hope you can help meRegardssilva

Our Response:
Unfortunately there are many parents who behave in this manner. It might be worth them drawing up a formal agreement for child arrangements - perhaps using a mediation service at first. This can be made legally enforceable by the courts at a later date if necessary. When the children are in their father's care, he is responsible for them and the other parent cannot dictate what they can/can't do (as long as they're safe etc). If an order is in place, it should make it more difficult for the mother to prevent contact or holidays etc.
LawAndParents - 27-Nov-17 @ 10:39 AM
Hi, I'm hoping I'll get some advice here. I have beenseeing someone for almost two years who is divorced however every time he tries to talk to his ex about moving on with his life she threatens him with her not letting him see the kids or taking them abroad. I know he has access rights and has them every other weekend. I have told him to speak to his solicitor but have been told he already has and they say there is nothing he can do. As I am not aware of the law is there anything to stop her? Or am I being played like a mug? Surely an ex cannot influence what you do in your personal life and certainly not use the children in such a disgraceful way? I really hope you can help me Regards silva
Silva - 23-Nov-17 @ 1:54 AM
My ex wants kids to spend thier visiting time with his new partner as he cannot make it for most of the two hr visit through week nights due to work apart from the last 20 min of thier visit I feel this is to much up heavel for kids especialy on school nights Have i got rights to limit visits to only when he is available ?
Carly - 21-Nov-17 @ 1:13 PM
I am seeking some advice as my ex husband has gone against a child arrangement order. He has been telling lies about me and to our daughter, she is 4yrs old and he tell her that I am a bad mammy, naughty and the police will take me away. After reporting me to the police on numerous occasions to all of which have been refuted as they are lies. Social services and the school have no issues with nor has cafcass. I was due to have her Monday Tuesday and Wednesday nights but he's not allowed it. I am taking him back to court due to a decline in his health as he has a spinal disease and needs to have 3discs removed from his neck. He has said that if he doesn't have this operation he could be paralysed within 6mths! He is totally obsessed with me and the fact we have broken up. He is dictating when and how I contact her but she's saying she misses me and loves me. He is using my past against me to control me as this is all he can do against me.
Holla - 20-Nov-17 @ 5:01 PM
Mike - Your Question:
My ex has a new partner with a long history of domestic violence and disorderly conduct. Is there anyway I can stop my child from being introduced to this man without have to change our custody agreement? I don't want to take any time away from my daughter with my ex. I had been told about this mans history and decided to look him up on public record and the history is true.

Our Response:
You can consider applying for a Prohibited Steps Order as detailed in the above article. Sarah's law allows you to get a background check done which should enable you to make a decision on whether to apply for a PSO. Talk to your ex first, she may be willing to restrict her time with the new partner to those times when her daughter is with you (elsewhere etc)
LawAndParents - 17-Nov-17 @ 12:34 PM
My ex has a new partner with a long history of domestic violence and disorderly conduct. Is there anyway I can stop my child from being introduced to this man without have to change our custody agreement? I don't want to take any time away from my daughter with my ex. I had been told about this mans history and decided to look him up on public record and the history is true.
Mike - 16-Nov-17 @ 2:43 PM
My current partner has been separated (not divorced ) from her husband for about a year and a half. And have separate homes. I have been friends with her for several years prior and they have 2 kids together. He has moved on and has a girlfriend who she herself has two children. All of which spend time together with her kids and theirs. He has recently found out that me and his ex (mother of he children ) are dating, he has banned me from being allowed anywhere near their children or having any contact with them at all, he has been able to give no reason for this other then he just doesn’t want me to, me and the kids get on and never had any issues other then when he has told them they will be in trouble for even being at the same event, park or anything to do with me so they get scared to be around me. My partner and mother of them has tried to reassure them that they are not together and he has no reason to say what he does , that I am not a threat and they are not doing anything wrong in wanting to play a game or say hello or be at the same place as me. I have never tried to get in the way of their parenting and have always kept in my place within that. I hate that the kids are being used against me and that they are the ones getting hurt I’m this, especially when my partner has been ok with him and his new partner and the other kids all spending time together and has no idea who the woman is. Where does she stand on this, what can be done, I know it’s not fair that he has involved other kids and a new partner and does what he likes but I who have been a friend and known by the kids for a few years and they know I am safe is getting banned and being spoken about so badly that they kids don’t know what to do. What is right and wrong in this ?
Jack - 15-Nov-17 @ 2:44 PM
Callo123 - Your Question:
She is now pregnant with my unborn baby within theses four months but her ex is going to court against me to stop be being around his kids and I love them all is there nothing I can do please need advice

Our Response:
If the children's father does take this to court, the judge will consider all the circumstances and what is best/safe for the children.
LawAndParents - 15-Nov-17 @ 2:07 PM
She is now pregnant with my unborn baby within theses four months but her ex is going to court against me to stop be being around his kids and I love them all is there nothing I can do please need advice
Callo123 - 14-Nov-17 @ 2:44 PM
Hi I've been with a partner 4 months now and we both left our partners for each other but now her ex is using my old pass younger days against me is there anything I can do to help the situation cause I really want to be with her but at the moment I don't know what she's going to do is there anything I can do to help myself being with her
Callo123 - 14-Nov-17 @ 2:40 PM
Shevvy - Your Question:
Me and my partner broke up due to the fact he was sleeping with my best friend at the time. Now he continues to bring my daughter round her, who she once knew as her auntie. My daughter often comes home saying they have told her ‘I’m a liar and a bad person’. I’ve tried talking to him and her about not having her around her but they keep going against my wishes. What would be the next step?

Our Response:
It might be worth trying mediation - a child can become very mixed up when each parent openly criticises the other and the father needs to realise this. It would not usually be sufficient for a prohibited steps order though.
LawAndParents - 14-Nov-17 @ 12:25 PM
Me and my partner broke up due to the fact he was sleeping with my best friend at the time. Now he continues to bring my daughter round her, who she once knew as her auntie. My daughter often comes home saying they have told her ‘I’m a liar and a bad person’. I’ve tried talking to him and her about not having her around her but they keep going against my wishes. What would be the next step?
Shevvy - 12-Nov-17 @ 7:42 PM
DoesntMatter - Your Question:
So does this also work the other way. Can a male stop his partners ‘new male friend’ seeing the kids?

Our Response:
There is no law that says a child cannot meet or be in contact with his/her parents' new partner. If it goes to court, the judge will look at all the circumstances and make a decision based on those (with the child's best interests always at the fore).
LawAndParents - 8-Nov-17 @ 11:50 AM
B - Your Question:
My sister has a 3year old son. Her exes new girlfriend contacts her daily telling my sister to stay away from the father of her child, commenting on her parenting, mentioning that my nephew is "her" (the new girlfriends) child, as well as stalking social media sites and befriending my people to find "dirt" on my sister. Is there a legal way to keep her from seeing my nephew? My sister has tried everything, but cannot seem to find a legal way to do so.

Our Response:
If it's affecting the child and your sister adversely, it might be worth considering applying for an injunction. Many solicitors offer a first consultation for free.
LawAndParents - 7-Nov-17 @ 9:55 AM
So does this also work the other way. Can a male stop his partners ‘new male friend’ seeing the kids?
DoesntMatter - 7-Nov-17 @ 9:48 AM
My sister has a 3year old son. Her exes new girlfriend contacts her daily telling my sister to stay away from the father of her child, commenting on her parenting, mentioning that my nephewis "her" (the new girlfriends) child, as well as stalking social media sites and befriending my people to find "dirt" on my sister. Is there a legal way to keep her from seeing my nephew? My sister has tried everything, but cannot seem to find a legal way to do so.
B - 1-Nov-17 @ 12:11 AM
Macca- Your Question:
Hi I’m a Dad of 1 she is 14 now and I have parental responsibility. She isn’t getting on with her stepdad he is speaking to my daughter in an obscene manner and recently told her to get out of her own home. Now that she has been with me for a few days she says she doesn’t want to go home and I don’t blame her. Is there anything I can do? Do I have to send her home or can she stay with me for time being until everyone calms down?

Our Response:
What child arrangements are in place at the moment? Try and discuss it with your ex (your daughter's mother) first. If you cannot resolve it, you might want to consider mediation to draw up an agreement that you daughter stays with your for set period of time, or that you alter the existing arrangements so your daughter spends the majority of her time with you etc. If that fails, you may need to consider a court order.
LawAndParents - 25-Oct-17 @ 3:47 PM
Hi I’m a Dad of 1 she is 14 now and I have parental responsibility. She isn’t getting on with her stepdad he is speaking to my daughter in an obscene manner and recently told her to get out of her own home. Now that she has been with me for a few days she says she doesn’t want to go home and I don’t blame her. Is there anything I can do? Do I have to send her home or can she stay with me for time being until everyone calms down?
Macca - 25-Oct-17 @ 8:58 AM
On Saturday approx. 1 hour before my son was collected for his fortnightly overnight visit with his dad I received a message from my ex stating he now has a cat at home and I might like to forewarn our 5 yr old son who is frightened of most animals. He was very upset but was persuaded to go ahead with the visit. Upon his return it transpired the cat belongs to his dad's girlfriend who has also moved in. I now know my son met her once prior to this at the last fortnightly visit. I am obviously very upset that neither myself or child were forewarned of this person moving in. When I asked my ex why he had done this I received a barrage of abuse and was told to get lost but less politely. All i know from my 5 yr old is that she is from his dad's work. I do not know her name or anything about whether this person is safe to be around children. Do I have any rights to disclosure of who this person is?
Turnip88 - 9-Oct-17 @ 9:10 PM
Josie - Your Question:
My 3 year old hasn't had a relationship with his dad since he was 8 months. I am now going to a contact centre for visits then he will get him out with centre. The problem I'm having is his girlfriend doesn't have access to her children to 2 separate dads, the dads have full custody of the children for reasons unknown to me. I don't want my child around someone who hasn't got access to her own kids.

Our Response:
Hopefully the above article is self explanatory when you read through. You may have to seek a PSO from the courts. Let us know if we can add anything to the article.
LawAndParents - 4-Oct-17 @ 11:20 AM
Mike - Your Question:
My ex and I split up about 6 months ago,I have recently found out she has a new boyfriend who has severe mental health issues and has been sectioned before,he has even voluntarily sectioned himself on a few occasions,I have spoken to my ex stating I'm not happy in having him around my 3 children as none of us are aware of what his problems really are,she is stating that she will allow him to be around my children and I'm not happy and concerned about the safety of my children,can I do anything legally to stop this

Our Response:
You could try applying to the courts for a prohibitive steps order. The courts, will instigate some investigations and make a decision based on the best interests of the children.
LawAndParents - 3-Oct-17 @ 3:13 PM
My 3 year old hasn't had a relationship with his dad since he was 8 months. I am now going to a contact centre for visits then he will get him out with centre. The problem I'm having is his girlfriend doesn't have access to herchildren to 2 separate dads, the dads have full custody of the children for reasons unknown to me. I don't want my child around someone who hasn't got access to her own kids.
Josie - 2-Oct-17 @ 8:05 PM
My ex and I split up about 6 months ago,I have recently found out she has a new boyfriend who has severe mental health issues and has been sectioned before,he has even voluntarily sectioned himself on a few occasions,I have spoken to my ex stating I'm not happy in having him around my 3 children as none of us are aware of what his problems really are,she is stating that she will allow him to be around my children and I'm not happy and concerned about the safety of my children,can I do anything legally to stop this
Mike - 2-Oct-17 @ 3:41 AM
Sammy - Your Question:
My husband (seperated) believes that I was seeing my new partner before we separated as has a lot of anger and hatred towards him. He is refusing to let my partner meet our daughter or let us spend time together as a family. Our daughter lives with me and so far I have lived by My husband's rules but I don't feel he should be able to restrict and rule My life because of his anger towards My new partner.My partner has children of his own and is a loving father, there are no reasons why he should not be around our daughter.My husband says he will get a prohibited steps order to stop him if needed but I don't see he has any grounds.

Our Response:
If there are no grounds for PSO the courts will not grant one to your ex.
LawAndParents - 20-Sep-17 @ 2:32 PM
Bingo84 - Your Question:
My partner has two kids. It's a complicated situation because the real father has nothing to do with the kids and her ex-husband has taken on the father figure role. He is always talking ill of her in front of the kids. He has alienated her friends and it appears her friend and him talk ill of her in front of the kids too. Is there anything she can do to stop the kids spending time round former mutual friends when he has them. She is worried they are having a negative impact on the kids. It is apparent in their change in behavior towards her.

Our Response:
Not easily no. Parental alienation, while it's starting to be recognised by the courts in the UK has no legislation that currently addresses it. If a court feels a child is adversely affected by parental alienation they will take action....going as far as removing the child from both parents and placing a child in care in extreme cases. The first suggestion would be for both parents to attend mediation, to make the other parent aware of the effect on the child etc.
LawAndParents - 14-Sep-17 @ 2:03 PM
My partner has two kids. It's a complicated situation because the real father has nothing to do with the kids and her ex-husband has taken on the father figure role. He is always talking ill of her in front of the kids. He has alienated her friends and it appears her friend and him talk ill of her in front of the kids too. Is there anything she can do to stop the kids spending time round former mutual friends when he has them. She is worried they are having a negative impact on the kids. It is apparent in their change in behavior towards her.
Bingo84 - 13-Sep-17 @ 8:25 AM
My husband (seperated) believes that I was seeing my new partner before we separated as has a lot of anger and hatred towards him. He is refusing to let my partner meet our daughter or let us spend time together as a family. Our daughter lives with me and so far I have lived by My husband's rules but I don't feel he should be able to restrict and rule My life because of his anger towards My new partner. My partner has children of his own and is a loving father, there are no reasons why he should not be around our daughter. My husband says he will get a prohibited steps order to stop him if needed but I don't see he has any grounds.
Sammy - 6-Sep-17 @ 9:58 AM
Marky - Your Question:
Can I stop my ex partner's boyfriend seeing my kids he smokes weed and she letting him sleep in the house after a week of knowing him

Our Response:
If you feel the children in genuine risk you can apply for a Prohibited Steps Order. Speak to your ex first to see if you can come to some sort of compromise.
LawAndParents - 21-Aug-17 @ 10:18 AM
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