In a published trial court decision, the issue of a DeVita restraint, i.e., the term used to describe a court order which limits the amount of exposure which a divorcing parent may permit a child to have with the parent's new girlfriend or boyfriend, was reviewed. The review included consideration of whether the new girlfriend or boyfriend would be permitted to spend the night when the child was present.
The Court determined that there is no per se rule which would deem it inappropriate to introduce a new girlfriend or boyfriend, or permit them to stay overnight, to a child. However, the Court found that, while analyzing each case on its particular facts with an eye towards what is in the child's best interests, it is permissible to enforce reasonable temporary, short-term restraints, designed to protect the child's emotional interest following his parents' recent separation, by providing a period of gradual transition and introduction to new parental dating partners over a reasonable period of time.
Overall, this was a well-thought out decision by the trial court which reflected the need for case-by-case analysis and the use of mental health professionals, where appropriate, to ease the emotional burdens of a divorce and the ensuing change in lifestyle that it promotes.
If you are dealing with issues relating to introducing your new girlfriend or boyfriend to your children, or wish to limit the exposure of your exes' new girlfriend or boyfriend to your children, call today for a free consultation.