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If A Former Partner is Dating Someone New, Is a Child Custody Investigation A Smart Idea?

  • November 20, 2006
  • by PInow Staff

There are many things that can affect a child's safety in a custody situation. One of these things is the new friends and partners that a parent may meet after a divorce.

Child custody problems are more prevalent than most people realize. According to 2003 US census findings, 43.7% of mothers with custody and 56.2% of custodial fathers are separated or divorced. This means that many parents are raising their children while separated from their spouse. Statistics show that the majority of people who divorce eventually remarry or at least form new partnerships. Not surprisingly, custodial parents worry about the influence of these new partners on their children.

They may have a reason to worry. Custody arrangements in a divorce are usually based on information that is current at the time of the divorce. However, the circumstances of a person's life can change dramatically usually with no corresponding changes to custody arrangements. A parent may meet a new partner who is a bad influence or is even actively dangerous to the child the parent is responsible for.

What are the signs of a problem?

Parents who have partial or full custody have a responsibility to ensure that their child is safe both with them and with the other partner who shares custody of the child. A big part of that is ensuring that the friends and new partners that a parent are safe for the child. When a parent starts dating again, there are many signs that the child may not be safe:

  • A child does not seem to want to spend time with a custodial parent. This needs to be taken especially seriously if the child was previously eager to see the parent. In some cases, the change may simply occur because the child is upset or confused about the changes in a parent's life. However, it could also point to an unhealthy new situation.

  • Child returns from spending time with their other parent with signs of neglect. A child that returns unwashed, hungry, tired, or improperly dressed for the weather may be suffering from neglect.

  • Child returns from spending time with their other parent with signs of abuse. These signs may include withdrawal, acting out, bruises, scratches, and inappropriate language.

  • Disturbing information about a former partner's new friends and acquaintances comes to light. Although listening to gossip is never a good idea, anything upsetting needs to be checked out for the child's safety.

  • A parent is less willing to spend time with the child. While at the start of a new relationship, a parent may want to spend time alone with their new partner, it's also important to maintain a strong parent-child relationship.

  • Changes in a parent's behavior. If a custodial parent suddenly becomes irresponsible arriving late to pick up a child or making last-minute changes in plans or suddenly changes behavioral patterns, that may be a cause for concern. It may indicate changes that can be far from beneficial for the child.

In many cases, simply keeping lines of communication open may be enough to keep everyone concerned feeling comfortable and safe. Meeting a former partner's new friends and spending time together or discussing concerns frankly helps to waylay many fears. Unfortunately, this type of frankness is not always possible. In those cases where a child's welfare is at stake, then, many parents turn to a custody investigator to ensure that children stay safe with a custodial parent. Parents can find qualified, experienced investigators as well as useful resources at no charge through the PInow.com Worldwide Directory of Private Investigators. The investigator's parents can find through the PInow.com Worldwide Directory of Private Investigators can look into a child's living situation to ensure that the child stays safe.

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