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A Parent’s Visitation Rights May not be Limited Because of a Girlfriend/Boyfriend

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Has your ex-spouse recently began dating? Or, does he or she have a new girlfriend or boyfriend that you don't approve of or simply don't know well enough to feel comfortable entrusting your children with? If so, these are certainly natural feelings, but please know that although you may not feel comfortable leaving your children in the care of your ex-spouse's new love interest, you may not unreasonably limit your ex-spouses visitation privileges or parenting time as a result.

It is the express public policy of the state of Georgia to "encourage parents to share in the rights and responsibilities of raising their children after such parents have separated or dissolved their marriage." O.C.G.A. § 19-9-3 (d). Thus, a divorced parent has the right to access and visit his or her child, and this right may only be limited under exceptional circumstances. See Griffin v. Griffin, 226 Ga. 781, 784 (1970). And, although some divorced parents may disagree, according to the Supreme Court of Georgia, the fact that one ex-spouse or co-parent has a significant other and wishes to have that significant other present while he or she exercises parenting time is not an "exceptional circumstance" warranting any limitation on visitation. Brandenburg v. Brandenburg, 274 Ga. 183 (2001). Put plainly, no parent can unreasonably deny or limit another parent's visitation solely because that parent has a new girlfriend or boyfriend unless other extenuating circumstances exist.

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