I've had many cases where issues involving overnight parenting time and visitation with an unmarried party are raised. Here are some of my thoughts. A man recently retained me in a divorce where his wife had left him for another man. His first attorney told him that there was no way that he could have a clause in the divorce judgment stating the following: "neither party shall have an unrelated member of the opposite sex overnight while having parenting/visitation time with the minor children." My advice to him was that I thought it was a possibility. Under certain circumstances, courts do have a right to enter such an order. There is a case on point where I practice law in Michigan. In that case, the judge ruled that it was in the best interests of the children to have an order that required both the husband and wife to refrain from having an unrelated member of the opposite sex overnight while the children are present.
I believe that having overnight parenting time with an unrelated member of the opposite sex puts children into a very awkward position. You may think that the children are ready to be introduced to a significant other but you are usually wrong. Children need time to heal and are often very uncomfortable.
Second, why can't you wait? What is the hurry? Too many people rush into new relationships. Think of the song "Fools Rush in Where Angels Fear to Tread." There is a lot of truth to that. There is nothing wrong with having your boyfriend or girlfriend sleep over when the children are not with you. More and more cases where we have joint physical custody the children spend close to half the time with each parent. If you need someone else around, why not do it when the children are with the other parent?
In addition, when one parent rushes into a new relationship and wants to involve the children, too often that relationship ends. You are then subjecting your children to unnecessary contact and confusion -- to say the least. What kind of role model are you being for your children? You are showing them that it is okay to have frequent partners. How is this good for your children? What type of example are you setting? Think about it. Do you want your children when they are young or teenagers modeling their behavior after you? Is it okay for them to see frequent sexual partners or casual relationships? In any divorce there are moral issues as well as ethical and legal issues. The key is what is best for your children. Put your children first and not your desires and needs. Another thing to remember is that when you involve someone else with the children, you are rubbing your relationship into you soon-to-be-former husband's or wife's face. This will inflame your divorce. It helps no one.
These are some of the examples of why it is best not to have an unrelated party of the opposite sex, or even same-sex, sleep over when the children are around after the divorce. These are some of my thoughts, please share yours.