My girlfriend and her Ex have been divorced for over two years.We all live in VirginiaThey have 2 children from the marriage. A 17 year old and a 12 year old.They have a Joint Custody arrangement. She has 75 he has 25.My girlfriend and I have been seeing each other for almost 2 years.On occasion, very rare and only while out of town on trips etc we spend the night together. Never in the same room but under the same roof as the kids. For example while visiting family the kids will sleep in one room, she and I will sleep in another room.The kids are never exposed to anything we are simply spending the night together.Her Ex has threatened to take custody away from her if I spend the night under the same roof as "his" kids. She and I are in a committed relationship and will soon be engaged.The Ex had has had several girlfriends during this time and at least one them has spent the night several times.Question isCan our sleeping arrangement, the fact that I have spent the night while the children are in the house interefere with custody.How does the law view this. I know things have changed over the past years and things are more liberal. But I don't want to risk her losing custody or give her Ex any ammunition. Thank you
State/Country relating to question: Virginia
Hello,Sometimes there may be a delay in receiving a reply from me as I work on creating the best solution to the question you have presented.
Your question is very important to me and I will respond very soon with an answer.
Sorry for the slow typing.
If I understand your concern, it seems you want to make sure that the fact that you and your girlfriend have cohabitated under the same roof would not lead to her losing custody of the children.
Let me attempt to assist you with this issue.
It would not be easy for the father to seek a change in custody.
In general, the person seeking to modify child custody must demonstrate a change in circumstances that makes modification appropriate. Based on the Supreme Court of Virginia case Keel v. Keel, the father would have to prove there is a substantial change in circumstances that makes the modification of custody in the best interest of the children.
The mere back that the mother now has a boyfriend even if you lived in the same house would not arise to the level required to change custody. If you have a criminal record, are a registered sex offender, drug addicted, or something else which make your presence around the children inappropriate, that would be a problem. However, just the fact that you are living under the same roof as the mother does not give the father a legal right to successfully change custody. There is no VA Code that refers to a change of child custody as a result of unmarried Cohabitation.
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Practicing Attorney for over 15 years
Hi John,I'm just following up with you to see how everything is going. Did my answer help?Let me know if there is anything else I can help answer for you.Let me know,Dan
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