There are many times in family law where we lawyers simply do not know how a judge is going to rule. However, it seems almost uniform that judges do not like custodial parents having lovers stay overnight with the children present. The feeling against that is so strong that it can lead to a loss of custody. The recent case of Sullivan v. Beason, No. 2008-CA-01827-COA (Decided June 15, 2010) is a good example. There, the young mother of two minor children lost custody because of alleged failure to provide a stable home and for immorality. Proof showed the Mother had a boyfriend who would stay overnight several times per week. The children were also tardy getting to school 18 times during the first semester. The Mother also took up with another boyfriend who was violent, but she got rid of him.
The Court found that even though the children were doing well in school and did not seem to be directly affected by the Mother’s problems with men, the fact that the children were not able to attend school the next day is evidence the children were adversely affected by the Mother’s activities. This case ought to cause all divorcing and divorced parents to think about how and when they introduce members of the opposite sex to their children.