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Can you keep your spouse’s affair partner away from your kids?

Adultery can have an explosive effect on your family. When you discover an extramarital affair, whether through hidden credit card receipts or a confession, you may immediately realize that your marriage is now over.

If you choose to divorce after finding out about your spouse’s affair, you will probably want some amount of justice from the legal system. Many times, spouses focus on some kind of financial penalty for an unfaithful partner.

For others, the biggest concern will be whether their children get forced into a relationship with the outside party that helped blow up their marriage. Can you ask the Massachusetts courts to keep your spouse’s affair partner away from the children?

Massachusetts judges can consider adultery for custody purposes

Psychologists have known for decades that adultery often affects the mental health of children, too. They can often sense when their parent has shifted their emotional and mental focus outside of the home.

If your spouse introduced the kids to their affair partner during your marriage, it may have caused guilt, anger and confusion about what healthy relationships actually involve. Even if there isn’t obvious cheating going on, the change in parental attitudes could lead to a change in child behavior.

After learning about the affair, you may realize that it overlapped with a previously inexplicable change in your child’s behavior that required school intervention, medication or counseling.

If you can show with medical records or school paperwork that your spouse’s affair has had a negative effect on your children’s behavior or that it caused your children emotional harm because your spouse intentionally exposed them to this other person, the courts may consider that when deciding custody in a Massachusetts divorce.

How might an affair affect the custody outcome?

It can be hard to predict exactly what custody instructions the courts will enter, but there are specific outcomes that you could seek. Supervised visitation might be an option. The courts may also limit your ex’s parenting time if they have harmed your children or openly exposed them to infidelity.

In some cases, if you can show that previous interactions with the affair partner have had a detrimental impact on your children’s mental health or if you can show that the affair partner has a history of behavior that makes them dangerous to the children, the courts could possibly include a prohibition on that individual being alone with your children or present during your ex’s parenting time in the custody order. You will likely need evidence to seek such an outcome in your upcoming divorce.