Thursday, November 22, 2012

Keep the Ex and the New SO Apart

Thanksgiving, that time when families comes together -- and custody handoffs occur.   Everyone wants the little angels to spend Thanksgiving with them, not the other parent.   But hey, there is a court order stating otherwise.   The Court Order controls.  

So, the split has occurred and everyone has moved on.   There is a new Significant Other in one parent's life.   Gues what, this new SO is NOT a parent.   They should not be involved in the Custody Order, the pick ups or the drop offs.   Even if the new SO lives with the parent.   If the pick up and drop off occurs at the house, the new SO needs to make his/herself scarce.   No confrontations at the front door, in the living room, in the driveway.

Did I say the driveway?   Yep, that is what happened to Halle Berry with her new fiance and her old boyfriend (who happens to be the father of her child).   Halle is already irked because she was not allowed to move to France.  Turns out dad has rights.   Go figure.   Money does not trump that.

So, Dad has the little cutie overnight and returns her today.   All nice and correct.  Until the new fiance decides to insert himself in the situation.    He approached Dad during the dropoff and tries to make nice.   Which seems like a good thing -- except it is not his job to do that.   He needs to stay out of the situation between Halle and Daddy.   It is not his business.

Now, what Dad did is not right.  He charged Fiance and started a fight.   A serious fight which ended with both men in the hospital.   Dad is also facing misdemeanor charges.   Which is wonderful example to set for his kid.   Fortunately, Halle rushed the child into the house as soon as the fight started.   But kids are not stupid.   She is old enough to know daddy and Mommy's new friend got into a fight.  

Yes Dad was wrong to treat a gesture of conciliation as an invitation to fight.   However, again, fiance needs to keep his nose of things that are none of his business.    I get more calls in my practice after the case is over where the new person in the other parent's life is causing trouble.   Talking trash, trying to take the parent's place in the kid's life, disciplining the kids, and generally interefering.   This could all be avoided if the new SO just understood - you have no rights to these kids so stay out of it.   If the parent insists on inserting the SO into the situation, rather than dealing with the other parent on his/her own, that is equally wrong.   The parents are the parents.  Period.   Keep others out of it.  

Or it leads to this -- someone going to jail.   And a child who feels horribly caught in the middle.

(okay, this one is not sports related, but it was too good a lesson to teach.   And it was Halle Berry, I am not dumb enough to miss the SEO implications of that)