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Parenting issues following divorce: Handling new relationships

Being a parent is tough, no matter what's going on -- but the difficulties you encounter can take on new dimensions when you're divorced.

One of the most common issues divorced parents have to face is the question of when to introduce a significant other to their child -- because eventually either you or your ex-spouse will likely move on and find someone new.

The issue of how to handle introductions between children, ex-spouses and significant others shouldn't be just one parent's call. It's far better to come to an agreement between you and your ex about how to handle the situation when it arises.

Here are some suggestions about juggling new relationships and handling those awkward meet-ups:

1. Agree with your ex-spouse that you won't introduce your child to casual relationships. You don't want your child to get attached to someone that could leave at any moment.

2. Agree that you will introduce your ex-spouse to your new significant other prior to introducing your significant other to your child.

3. Make the initial meet-up in a public setting. Someplace low-key, like a coffee shop, is probably ideal.

4. Make it clear that you don't have to have your ex-spouse's approval for your new relationship. (This is your life, after all.) The meeting is just a courtesy so that everybody is familiar with each other, and the first contact (which might be tense) doesn't occur in front of your child.

5. Remember that it's in your child's best interests for everyone to remain civil. You don't have to like your ex-spouse's new partner -- but you should be polite.

For more advice on custody issues following a divorce, talk to an experienced attorney today.

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