In some cases, it is necessary for a new partner to give evidence to the court concerning parenting or financial issues. The disputes that follow a divorce often take time to resolve. Before a property settlement can be made final or parenting issues can be determined, you might have started a new relationship. You might even be living with someone on an intimate basis.
Nobody wants to jeopardise a new relationship by dragging their new partner into court. There are times, however, when obtaining evidence from your new partner might be necessary. Other times, your former spouse might want to obtain that evidence.
If you can’t agree on a parenting arrangement, the court will probably order the preparation of a Family Report. The court appoints a family consultant to write the Family Report. The report will advise the court whether it would be in the children’s best interests to live with one parent or the other.
The family consultant considers each parent’s circumstances to determine how each parent would meet the child’s physical and emotional needs. To that end, the family consultant would probably want to interview your new partner to determine whether he or she would welcome your child into the home. The family consultant would also want to evaluate your relationship to make sure it is stable and loving, because the court would not want to expose the child to an unhealthy living situation.
Information about your new partner will be presented in the Family Report. Your lawyer can help you decide whether there is any other evidence your new partner might be able to give that would help your case.
A former spouse’s need for spousal maintenance is likely to be affected by the spouse’s new living situation. If the former spouse’s new partner is paying most of the spouse’s expenses, the need for spousal maintenance may be lessened.
Even if neither party is seeking spousal maintenance, the court must consider each party’s financial needs when making a property settlement. A relationship with a new partner may have an impact on financial need. That impact will depend on whether your new partner is financially dependent on you or whether you are benefitting from the new partner’s resources. For the court to gain a full understanding of your financial circumstances, it may be necessary to have your new partner provide evidence to the court. Whether that will help or hurt your case depends on the circumstances. It is best to get legal advice before making any decision about the evidence you offer in court.
You can submit the evidence of your new partner by way of affidavit. If you want the court to consider that evidence, however, you will probably need to make your partner available for cross-examination. Your lawyer can help you decide how to proceed.