By: Amanda Vann, Esq.
After every divorce, there comes a time when each parent moves on and gets involved in a new relationship, and then the question arises: when should you introduce your new partner to your children?
There is no need to rush and I encourage all parents to establish a timeline for the introduction that sets forth when you will talk with your new partner, when you will talk with your former spouse, and when will be the best time for your kids. There may be a tendency for you to introduce your new partner right away because you simply are excited and happy with your new partner, but this can actually have a negative impact on everyone: your kids, you, your partner, and the new relationship moving forward.
When Do You Introduce Your New Partner?
Generally, mental health professionals are in agreement that you should wait at least a year after your separation before introducing a new partner to your children. When children go through a divorce, there is a lot of turmoil and change for them. Kids are pretty resilient and adjust fairly easily but they do need time to get accustomed to all the “new” changes such as: new living arrangements where mom and dad are no longer under the same roof, a new schedule where they are shuffling back and forth between the new homes, new worries and concerns that need to be addressed so that they feel loved and get reassurance that just because things have changed, it doesn’t mean that mom and dad don’t still love them tremendously. The point is it takes time for everyone to get acclimated to all of the “new” things in their lives and you should be cognitive of the “new” and make adjustments to your timeline accordingly.
Factors to Consider in Introducing a New Partner to Your Kids After a Divorce
Planning out your timeline can also help your new partner establish a great relationship with your kids which will ease your concerns, reassure your children, and ease the blending of your new partner with your kids. Children tend to get attached to new people in their lives. A good rule to follow is that you shouldn’t introduce any partner to your children until you have been in an exclusive, committed relationship with them for 6 months. After 6 months, you should begin to have the discussions with your partner so that each of you can discuss your expectations and wants. You don’t want to introduce your children to a new partner and realize after doing so that your partner isn’t interested in undertaking a positive role in your children’s lives, has no interest in ever becoming a step-parent, or isn’t looking for that kind of commitment. You want to ensure that you and your new partner are on the same page about blending your lives and what your new family dynamic will be before you introduce your children.
You also need to give yourself time to tell your former spouse about the relationship and your plans for introducing your new partner. It can be helpful if this conversation comes after you have already had discussions with your partner so that your former spouse is aware of the seriousness of your new relationship and you are able to answer their questions and concerns about your plan for moving forward. More times than not, having this conversation is never easy but it can go smoothly when you are able to show that you have given this considerable thought and your main focus is your children and how they will handle this transition. Remember that there will come a time when you are in the same position as your ex-spouse and a new person who you don’t know will be around your children. It isn’t an easy thing to digest, but it can be a little easier if you know that your spouse and their partner have given it considerable thought and they are willing to have an open dialogue so that everyone can ensure the transition for your children goes well.
Introducing your partner to your children is an important step and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Have your own timeline established and ensure that you address the concerns of your new partner, your ex-spouse, and the mental state of your kids. This will ensure that the blending of your new partner into your and your kids’ lives will be successful.
Family Law Attorneys in Montgomery County
At the law firm of Andalman & Flynn, we always impress upon our clients the idea that divorce is as much a new beginning as it is an ending. Hiring the right family law attorney to represent your best interests in your divorce is essential to ensuring you will have the freedom, happiness, and financial independence you deserve in your new life.
If you need a family law lawyer in Maryland to help you with any of the above legal services,contact Andalman & Flynn today.
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