Cohabitation Can Affect Child Custody in a Few Ways

When a couple divorces, each person should be allowed to move on with their life,. Unfortunately, when there are children involved and one parent is seeking custody, this is not always the case. When one parent has moved and is now living with their new partner, the court has the right to and will examine their cohabitation structure to determine what is best for the child. 

Cohabitation is Not a Deal Breaker

You should first understand that cohabitation is not a deal-breaker. Again, once your divorce decree has been certified by the judge, you are single in every way and you are free to engage in whatever relationship you so choose. However, while living with your new partner will not bar you from gaining custody of your children, it is important to be aware that your living situation can affect your case. 

Relationship Length Matters

One factor that a judge may look at is the length of time you and your partner have been involved before moving in. The longer the two of you have been together, the more stable the home environment appears for the children. For this reason, a parent that has only been divorced for 2 years but has lived with 3 different partners might raise some stability concerns in the eyes of the judge.

Your Partner will be Examined

Keep in mind; any person that lives in the home where you want your children to reside will have their background assessed. The judge may ask about everything from the other person's criminal history to the level of financial contribution they provide to the household. This process is not meant to be invasive, but it is instead intended to ensure that the best interest of the child is always protected. 

The Other Parent Has Rights

A hard pill to swallow is to accept that the other parent has rights. If the other parent raises a reasonable concern over the children living in the home with your new partner, particularly if they do not know the individual, they have a right to bring this topic up in court. As such, the judge also has the right to consider their concerns. 

If you are seeking custody of your child and you live with a partner who you are not married to, it is important to understand that each person's situation is different. Yet, it is helpful to speak with an attorney who can help you determine what types of challenges you could face. 

For more information about what a child custody attorney can contribute to your case, contact a local law office like