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How your former spouse moving in with someone new affects custody

Moving in with a new partner and to a new place are very common causes of custody changes. You may wonder how your former spouse moving in with someone new affects child custody arrangements. 

Depending on if this major life change occurs close to the time of the initial custody agreement, legal issues may arise. 

Former spouse stays in state

The majority rule is that the complaining party must show that the new living arrangements have some adverse effect on the children. 

Involving the new partner should only happen once the relationship becomes long-term and stable enough to trust the person as a part of the children’s lives. Unless there is a high level of certainty that the relationship will last, it is smart to postpone any introductions of this new person to the children. 

Courts put the best interest of the children first and will consider any and all information to make this determination. Consider the health, safety and welfare of your children when thinking about this new partner. If the person has a criminal record or demonstrated any inappropriate or violent behavior towards the children, then a court will intervene. Aside from any glaring issues, it is unlikely a court will adjust custody arrangements too drastically. 

Former spouse moves out-of-state

Additional issues arise if your former spouse moves in with someone new and the home is a different state in which he or she previously resided. A parent who attempts to move a child across state borders with the intent to obstruct the rights of the other parent will be subject to  the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act. This federal law provides protections for parents and children victimized by kidnapping. 

Illinois law outlines parental kidnapping under its child abduction statutes. A parent commits parental kidnapping if he or she intentionally removes the children from the jurisdiction of the court granting the order, among other violations.