Attorney Eric D. Puryear

What to Do When an Ex’s New Boyfriend, Girlfriend, or Spouse Poses a Danger to Your Child

Puryear Law » Legal Blog » Family Law in General » What to Do When an Ex’s New Boyfriend, Girlfriend, or Spouse Poses a Danger to Your Child

In many cases these days, a child is endangered or harmed by a the new spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend of an ex.  Properly addressing such a situation is vital to ensuring the safety of the child.


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There are so many different situations that can arise in which a child’s health, safety, and well-being are threatened.  Common situations where a child is endangered or harmed by an ex’s new significant other include the following:

  • The new significant other for an ex hits or beats the child
  • The child is sexually abused by the ex’s new significant other
  • An ex moves in with a sex offender
  • A child is left under the care of an ex’s new significant other who can’t properly care for the child
  • The ex’s new boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse neglects the child while under their care
  • The ex moves in with their new significant other, bringing the child to a dangerous location
  • A person’s child is harmed or endangered by the child of their ex’s new husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend

Many people facing such a situation are at first in shock, as they themselves could not imagine allowing someone else to endanger or harm their child, and cannot grasp why their ex would do so.  The sad reality is that many people do favor their new significant other over their own child, going as far as to allow that person to cause harm to their child.  As incomprehensible as it is to most parents, it is a fact of life that such situations happen every day.

The court systems in both Illinois and Iowa are well equipped to handle such a situation.  It is common to seek an emergency injunction or protective order in such situations, and file for a modification of any existing custody arrangement. Seeking such an emergency court order is the first step in protecting a child from harm, but it is equally vital to take the necessary follow-up actions.  Failing to properly follow through to obtain the necessary evidence and discovery is necessary, otherwise it will not be possible to persuade the court to extend the emergency order and make the needed permanent changes to prevent the child from winding up in the same harmful situation in the future.


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As an attorney who has handled many child custody cases where there were issues concerning child abuse and neglect, it is my considered opinion that the best approach to take is to address the matter with the court, and do so swiftly. Just about any other course of action is unlikely to properly protect one’s child, and can lead to a whole host of other legal problems.  Indeed, it is common for people to end up causing themselves great harm to their custody case when they try to handle such situations on their own by withholding the child from the other parent.


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