Can a legal contract prevent my ex from introducing our children to his new partner?

She caught her husband ‘in the act’ with another woman in the gym parking lot and now they’re divorcing. But she has a strict rule for him.

Welcome to Sisters In Law, news.com.au’s weekly column solving all your legal problems. This week, our resident lawyers and real-life sisters Alison and Jillian Barrett of Maurice Blackburn advise whether a woman can obtain a legal contract preventing her cheating ex-husband from introducing his children to other women.

Question:

I recently separated from my husband and we are planning to divorce. We broke up because he had an affair with a woman from his club and I caught him red-handed with her in the car in the club parking lot.

I am understandably furious with him but I want to remain civil for our two young children and we plan to share custody. My husband and his beautiful wife are an object now, but I don’t want her to have anything to do with my children.

Can I get it written in a legal contract that he can’t introduce other wives to our children unless he remarries? I don’t want women to come in and out of my children’s lives as they grow up. – Helena, Queensland

To respond:

The law does not take into account the reason why a marriage has broken down when deciding custody or access to children.

The fact that your husband had an affair will not affect his right of access to the children and he will not be penalized for it.

You mentioned that you didn’t want your husband to introduce your children to “other women” unless he remarried.

We’re assuming you mean “any romantic partner” because it’s highly unlikely that your husband will agree to that, or that a court will issue a court order preventing “any woman” from meeting your children.

Any dispute like this is usually best resolved out of court, due to the time, expense and stress associated with the legal process.

You can try to come to an agreement with your husband on a parenting plan or by filing consent orders in court to make sure the arrangement is enforceable. However, it is highly unlikely that he would accept such a term.

Before going to court, you and your husband will need to attend mediation or family dispute resolution. Services you can access to help you with this process include legal aid, family relations centers and community organizations.

The purpose of going through a mediation process is to reach an agreement on the issues in dispute and to have a parenting plan or consent order prepared, signed and filed with the court.

A parenting plan is a written agreement created by you and your husband, unique to your situation and in the best interest of your children. It will detail the very practical aspects of both parents’ responsibilities and how decisions will be made about your children, including living arrangements, health care and education.

The plan has a review date to ensure it continues to be appropriate for your children as they grow.

Parenting plans do not have the force of law. So even if your husband agreed to a clause in the plan that he would not introduce your children to romantic partners, there would only be repercussions if the plan was submitted to the family court using the application for consent orders, then it was formulated in a parenting order.

If you cannot agree, you can ask the court for a parenting order and a decision will be made based on what is in the best interests of your children.

Provided your children are safe when they meet your husband’s romantic partner(s), such as not in a home where there is drug use, a court is unlikely to issue the order you are seeking .

If your children are mature enough, the court will consider their views and then impose the parenting order. Parenting orders are enforceable.

If you go down this road, you should seek legal advice. Although you can represent yourself in court, a lawyer can advise you on the strength of your case and what evidence you need, as there is no guarantee that a court will decide in your case. favor.

This legal information is general in nature and should not be considered or relied upon as specific legal advice. Persons requiring specific legal advice should consult a lawyer.

If you have a legal question you would like Alison and Jillian answered, please email stories@news.com.au

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About Charles D. Goolsby

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