My Ex Husband's New Girlfriend - Havre de Grace,MD

Updated on April 25, 2015
J.L. asks from Havre de Grace, MD
21 answers

My Ex husband has already introduced our 3 young children, ages 7, 6 and 3 to his new girlfriend. I just found out that she is 5 months pregnant and the have only been dating for about 7 months. I have not met this women who has become apart of my children's lives. Should I? I guess I should also say that I have talked to my ex and explained that I would like to meet her and that it needs to happen as soon as possible. He keeps putting me off and I don't know what to do. I have sole legal and physical custody of the kids and prior to the girlfriend even being in the picture about a year and a half ago I stopped his overnights with the kids due to his lack of taking care of them. so I am now being asked to allow them to stay overnight and they live together so that means she will be helping him take care of our children.

Please know that I am not trying to control things or be involved in things that are none of my business. I am not from a divorced family, so I have no clue how people handle these situations. So I am really just trying to find out what is the norm.

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So What Happened?

Our court order for visitation is very broad. I only have to give him reasonable visitation. That was every other weekend staying overnight. However, I had to change that when the kids were not being taken care of properly. Our 3 year old daughter has MRSA and he refused to go to doctor appointments when she had an infection to learn what needed to be done to prevent the infections. So I can go back to allowing them to stay the night if I feel he is responsible enough to handle them. I do know who his girlfriend is, we are from a small town. But I don't KNOW her. I am not comfortable with my children possibly being left in her care when I don't know her or have formally met her. The kids hardly know her.

First I am not keeping my children away from their father. He is actually the one who took his own time away because he works on Saturdays and wants me to keep them on his Saturdays for him. So there would be no point in them staying on Friday night just to bring them to me first thing Saturday morning. I am not saying I have a "right" to meet her by any means. However, I do feel that it is important for the three of us to get along and be there for our children. Yes I want my children to have a relationship with their half sister. We have been divorced for 2 years I am happy with my decision to leave him. I am genuinely happy that he has found someone. The reason the overnights were stopped is due to his in ability to properly feed, bathe, clothe and care for them. I had to make a hard decision but I had to do what was in the best interest of my children's well being.

So for some that are telling me that the girlfriend is my children's step mother, she is not, they are not married they are simply playing house. If or when she gets tired of his lack of involvement with their child and leaves him, she is nothing to my children other than the mother of their half sibling. The reason I had to stop the overnights was his doing. Since so many want to judge, I went to pick my children up on Sunday morning for church and the kids were dirty in the same clothes I sent them to daycare in on Friday morning. My daughter at the time was 18 months and had been in a dirty diaper for so long that she took it off herself and smeared it all over the hall way wall and bathroom door, and the dirty diaper was still in the floor in the hall way. His dog had also had a litter of puppies and they were being kept in the enclosed porch off of the kitchen connected by French doors and the smell of urine and fecal matter was so strong it made my eyes water. The kids clothes and hair smelled of it. With my daughter already being diagnosed with MRSA at the age of 10 months old I felt it was necessary to not take them back there. My children wake up at 6:00 in the morning when I got there at 9:00 to pick them up for church my ex had just gotten out of bed. Since his mother owns the house I called her and told her the condition of the house and explained that I was told the dogs would not be kept inside which she told him was not allowed. So he was neglecting my children and not taking care of them properly.

He is also over $20,000 in back child support. Anytime he can not get the kids on his weekends he calls me to pick them up from daycare. He does not show up every other Saturday to pick them up. So he is taking his time away from them because he is more important to himself than his children. And I guess I should have worded differently, he has never actually asked for the overnights to start again, he just occasionally says he would like to have them more. He is not involved in any of their activities even though I have given him their baseball schedules he has yet to show up for a game. He will not take them to doctor appointments and never watches them when they are sick. I have to take off from my job which is the only source of income supporting our children. I have sole legal and physical custody due to his lack of caring enough to send in an answer to the decree. A judge ordered that so obviously the judge thought it reasonable enough.

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answers from Baton Rouge on

You have no control over who he dates or sleeps with, or how quickly he introduces her to the kids.
You do not have a "right" to meet her.
All you can require of him is that when the kids are with him, they are adequately fed, clothed, and safe.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

A little passive aggresive, but you can tell him..."I would like to meet Jen and think it would be good for you to be there too, what are you doing Friday?"

Anyway, I would just explain that you would rather meet to prevent any awkward meetings in passing. It will be in the best interest of everyone, including the kids. Then just ask him to bring her by.

I wouldn't make it a stip to picking up the kids or their sleep over.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Miami on

I've read both your post and your SWH, though I haven't read the other ladies' remarks yet. So I'm answering based on the additional info and the answers you've given others so far.

I would not worry about the issue people are bringing to you about withholding your children from their father. It is premature right now to be sending them to their house for overnight visits. You have every right legally, per your visitation decree, to make sure your children are safe in that house, especially since he has done such a poor job parenting previously. If a MRSA diagnosis wasn't enough to spur that man to act like a father, I don't know what else would. Thank God your child doesn't have asthma. You could have lost a child under his care...

Trust your instincts here and wait for him to decide that he wants his children ENOUGH to work with you. You've asked to meet this woman. Don't badger him about it - when he wants these kids badly enough, he'll set up a meeting with her.

I doubt that she knows why he doesn't have them overnight. That might be part of the problem. He may not want you to tell her what a poor father he has been. You do not have to concern yourself with keeping his "secret". It's his fault he lost time with his kids. He needs to man up. Though it's not a matter of "punishing" him, it is a matter of making sure that your children are safe and healthy with him and you have a right to make that clear. So I would ask for the court to appoint a mediator to be with you three when you meet her so that you can talk about all of this. It would not be to trash your ex. It would be to make sure that she understands your expectations AND the court's expectations of how these children need to be cared for. If you have a third party who has ALL THE COURT DOCS in front of them, then your ex cannot tell his GF that you are lying about this and that. And with her knowing the truth, it could be that she makes more of a man out of him than he was before because she doesn't want him parenting her own child that way.

I also recommend that you handle most of your communication with him/them by email so that you have records of your conversations for the court. I don't know if things are amiable between you and him, but it's probably best all the way around.

She may be permanent because of the baby. So this is the beginning of a long haul between you three. Establishing clear communications with the help of the court from the beginning could make your life so much easier. I really recommend that.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Me personally, I think you should stick to the custody and visitation agreements, whatever they are. If he wants overnights, let him go to court and prove that he has an adequate plan for when they are with him.

Custodial agreements are binding; you do better to go through everything legally than to be wishy-washy about following the court's order. Explain to him that if he want so change the custodial decree, he is welcome to legally pursue that. Because if he's paying support, the next thing that happens is "I have the kids sometimes, why should I have to pay so much"... if you feel he's irresponsible with the kids, make him prove he wants this and that he's willing to jump through the hoops necessary. There must have been a reason you were given sole custody, right? Who are you to second-guess the court? ;) (Yes, that last question was meant to be in jest.)

And yes, of course, you should meet her. The fact that he's being cagey about it would make me only more determined that any rearrangement of the current situation should go through legal channels.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

For me, the question would be: what has he done since the incident with the MRSA to show me (and the courts) that he is being more 'reasonable' as a parent? That is the answer that I would be using to guide all my other decisions regarding visitation.

I would not make any changes to the visiting schedule at this point.

FWIW, when the state gets custody of children and tries to place them with legal family members they do a background check on every person living in the house where the children will be placed (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, best friends, girl/boyfriends, 8th cousins).

So trusting somebody to take care of my children, based on your ex-husbands' (and the courts') very questionable standard of parenting after knowing and impregnating her after 7 months IS being a good parent.

I think it is reasonable to 'screen' somebody who will be caretaking for my children. I just find it ironic that we screen teachers, aides, social workers, day care workers, etc but feel we have to question our need to want to get to know the ex's significant other. Especially when the ex has shown lack of parental judgement in the past.

Doris Day's answer X 10.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I suggest meeting her is a condition of having them stay overnight. Perhaps say after I meet her I will consider overnights. We need to discuss how to set this up. I might get a babysitter for the kids and invite them to coffee at a nearby restaurant. Then allow the visits unless you see major difficulties.

Before I tried inviting both to coffee I might invite her alone for coffee without going through your ex. Just tell her you'd like to get to know her without mentioning overnights. Be friendly. Perhaps mention the kids and her relationship with them in a positive way. Acknowledge that they will be spending more time with her.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

You have sole legal and physical custody and you (and I presume the court? Or just you?) determined earlier that he could not have them overnight. I would leave that as it is, for now; when he says, "I want the kids to stay overnight," just keep it very simple and cool and say that since the current agreement that is in place says the kids don't get overnights, you will keep things that way for the moment. He likely will press and push you over this. I would absolutely get your custody lawyer informed of your ex's change of circumstance, and your ex's new requests for overnights, immediately. You probably will end up back in court and your lawyer should be informed now of what's going on, so the lawyer is ready to move if, or when, your ex goes back to court for more visitation than he is now allowed.

There is no way, really, for you to know if this additional visitation he wants is because he simply wants to show off for the new girlfriend or if, more positively, the girlfriend is a positive influence on him and has him wanting truly to step up and be a more involved father. The latter would actually be a good thing for your kids in the long run. But the earlier refusal to go to doctor appointments is very serious and he needs to demonstrate that he is going to change that kind of attitude permanently. What would satisfy you, in terms of knowing he was going to care for the kids adequately if he resumes getting more time with them? It sounds like you and he may need to see a court-ordered mediator or someone who can hash out a formal agreement about taking kids to doctors, meeting with doctors ( and teachers etc. as needed), and other specifics of keeping the kids' care and schooling consistent no matter which parent they're with).

If the court was not involved in the doctor visit issue before, that's too bad -- if it was all you (and not the court) telling the ex he couldn't have overnights, the court doesn't have any record that dad was refusing necessary interactions with the doctor and potentially setting his child up for harm. Not sure if the court was involved in that issue or not -- can't tell from the post.

Get your lawyer informed but don't say yes to overnights just yet.

If you alone have the ability to decide what's "reasonable" (and the court wasn't involved in formally taking away the overnights over the doctor issue), then be prepared for him to take YOU to court to get a less broad visitation order that will specify exactly what he DOES get. You have to think ahead to what you will do if he does that.

And yes, you need to meet the girlfriend officially. She will be mother to your children's half-sister or half-brother and I guarantee by then dad will be talking about how he needs more visitation so the kids can "get to know their little sibling." Fair enough, but you, yourself, have to know how you plan to handle that when the time comes. Don't let it be a surprise.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I think you have to be comfortable where you are their mother - so if you've asked him already, and he's not complying .. what's the reason for it?

Can you just ask him why?

You've made a simple (reasonable) request - ask him what the problem is.

I'm not in this situation myself, but I do like to know who my kids are spending time with. I don't think that's an unreasonable request at all. This sounds a lot more involved than what I deal with, so I think all the more reason to at least meet her.

So long as everyone is mature and respectful, what is the harm?

Otherwise, in about a year, this will feel odd that you haven't. Or so I would expect.

Good luck :)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Hi J., I have been on both sides of the coin and regardless it is hard. I did not meet my now ex-husbands children until we dated for quite some time. We did not live together but he was pushing it because he wanted me to take care of the kids. When I felt comfortable with it I insisted on going with him to pick the kids up. I met their mother and we chit chatted a bit. We were not BFF's but now she knew who I was. I asked her if I could call her if there were any emergency's or problems with the kids or any special instructions. She is their mom and has every right. Now I'm on the other side of the coin. Now divorced my now ex has a live in girlfriend. He has been thru about four but this one has been around for a while. I asked to meet her and I let her know my expectations. I offered her my number in the event my son wanted to talk to me or anything was wrong. Until you know her I would not let the kids go. You have a right to know where your children are and who they are with. Best of luck

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

yes you should meet her and get to know her. she will be caring for your children so you need to know her.
if your ex can met with the dr to find out how to care for her medical needs then the children could be left overnight again... but only if he or his new girl knows what to do for your dd if the need arrises.
i would also talk with your lawyer to discuss the way the court ordered visitation goes. don't give any loopholes for him to weasle around in.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

well, he sounds like a real prize. glad he's your ex.
i think it's perfectly appropriate for you to insist on knowing and being comfortable with whomever will be present when your kids are with their dad. i would be pleasant and firm about needing to meet her, and for there to be a nice long period of them all getting to know each other on shorter visits before you consent to overnighters (if you ever do.)
it's good to be as accommodating to the dad as is reasonably possible, but there's nothing wrong with taking plenty of due diligence.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Yes, as soon as possible. Actually, I think you should have met her (and been told that she was pregnant) before your children did.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I think if he would like the kids to start spending the night again you should give it a try. When you take them over you can meet the girlfriend then. I don't blame you for wanting to meet her before they spend the night, I'd just try to keep it short and sweet, don't make it a huge deal. You can get a good feel for a person just by standing in their kitchen and talking for a few minutes.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

He is the man that you chose to be their father, whether or not you are still together. I would let the kids spend overnights with him. While it would be nice to meet their new step mom (because that is what she will be as the mother of their half sibling), I don't think you have a right to do so. But since you, the ex and the GF will be parenting together for the next 15 years, starting off on as good a footing as possible has to be best for the kids. I suspect it has never occurred to you to have him meet every babysitter you have ever used.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I say leave things as they are for now, which is no overnights. If he feels strongly about it, he can bring you back to court. She has enough going on with being pregnant and will be busy with a newborn. She doesn't need to also play step-mom to three young kids while your neglectful ex is off doing whatever he's doing when he's not caring for his children.

Tell him that you'll be open to overnights with a) a court order or b) after they're married and are sure that the two of them are capable of providing adequate care for a total of 4 small children. Until either of those scenarios happen, the answer is a very reasonable "no."

As to whether or not to meet her...eventually you'll cross paths. If they end up married and having a real relationship, then of course it would be healthiest for all involved if you two know each other, trust each other, and get along but in many split families, that doesn't happen and that's OK. I can count on both hands the number of times I had seen my step-daughter's mother in the 10 years she was in our lives and on one hand, the number of times we have spoken to each other. Except in emergencies, communication was between my husband and SD's mother.

Honestly their relationships sounds like a train wreck and I would imagine that it won't last long and after a while, he'll just be paying her child support and having visitation with that child too. So I wouldn't get too invested in this relationship, nor would I let my kids get too used to her either. They'll have a relationship with their half-sibling through their dad regardless of what happens.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My perspective is as a SM is that you can ask, but they don't have to comply. I met the biomom in passing at a school event first. There was no sit down meet and greet. I did not want one. Frankly, she didn't have one for her BFs, either. We just found out when the kids talked about the guy.

I realize that you are concerned, and those concerns remain. But you can't force a meeting and you shouldn't change the overnights because she's in the picture. Has he changed? Is he capable? Do you feel anything has improved *with him*? If not, then continue the visitation as it is.

You have to have some amount of faith that the kids will be OK and that they will talk to you if things are not OK. It's hard. DH was not very happy when his ex's new BF was driving their teen daughter by himself and he knew nothing about the guy (his ex pawned off travel on whoever she was dating, so SD was spending a few hours in the car per weekend with this unknown guy). DH went out to "help SD with her bags" and to say hello, but didn't really talk much to the guy at first. Just eyeballed him and asked SD a few questions and trusted that if anything untoward was going on, she'd speak up.

Please also look up "parallel parenting" - an option when coparenting doesn't really work.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I think you're being way too involved in his life. Back off and as long as the kids have food and shelter and aren't at risk of death I'd tell the kids to not tell me what's going on at dad's house.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

It is not fair to keep the children from their father, he is their father after all, and it sounds like they will have a new brother or sister soon. You should want them to foster a relationship with their new sibling. It would be great if you could all meet, as long as you plan on being nice and not bitter towards her, since she will be a second mother to the kids. Unless the kids are being abused or severely neglected you should let their father have his time and let them get to know the mother of their new sibling, who, if she is living with their father, is also a step parent to them even if they are not yet married. If you continue to need to force so much control you will only end up hurting your kids in the end, who may wonder why you never allowed them to foster a real relationship with their father or their sibling. If he was smart he would take the custody/visitation issue back to court so you could no longer keep them from him.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Why not stick to the original "no overnights" since you've been doing that for
a year? Maybe just say "oh they have this & this at school. It's just easier.
Why don't I just drop them off & pick them up after a few hours?"
Try to act cool, non-confrontational so it seems at though you are trying to be
cooperative but really you are keeping your kids' best interests at heart as
already decided upon by the courts.
As having sole legal/physical custody of the kids, does that mean he does
not have them 1/2 the time or overnights etc. right now? If so, I'd keep it
like that stating it was decided upon by the courts for reasons they saw &
the kids are fine.
For now, it seems as though that is how it has been decided upon by the courts so I'd try to keep it like that for as long as possible.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dover on

I would think that if the kids have met her, they are serious enough to be having a child together they should have, then they are going to be around her including overnight visits. Yes, you should have at least met her.

My ex introduced our daughter (age 8) to his "friend Jenn" problem. Following Sunday she's at church with problem. She introduced herself and later he started to but we interjected that we had already made intros. He says "she's spoiling your daughter" and my response was simply "why should she be different than everyone else". FF to next afternoon when he was dropping her off at home and tries to coax our daughter into telling me "how she's spoiling her" daughter didn't bite so he did. Then he says "oh yeah, I'm living with her now". It seemed like he was trying to gauge my reaction and I wasn't reacting how he would have liked. Apparently they began a relationship on March 16 and the Sunday/Monday we had these discussions were March 22 & 23. That I have an issue with especially since our daughter is staying there at her home during her overnight visits.


answers from New York on

Is there a court order on visitation? If there is then you need to follow the court's directions. If there isn't then really its up to you to decide if the kids stay there or not. Personally it would be nice to meet the new girlfriend but she might be a little uncomfortable and probably being preggo a little hormonal.

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