Divorcing couples without children can often make a clean split from their exes without the need to continue communicating with each other. Divorcing couples with children do not have this luxury and will be tied together forever and forced to have some sort of cordial relationship. Even after the children reach the age of 18 and there is no more child support or formal child custody arrangement, the parents will undoubtedly still see each other more often than they would like at graduations, weddings and other big events. When one parent begins dating or gets remarried, this post-divorce relationship can become even more awkward or strained, as there will be another potential parental figure in the mix. Former Real Housewives of New York star Bethenny Frankel is dealing with this issue right now.
Frankel and her ex-husband, Jason Hoppy, divorced several years ago and have a young daughter together. Frankel's new boyfriend, Dennis Shields, is threatening to sue Hoppy over allegedly harassing emails. Bethenny Frankel's Ex Says He Needs a Relationship With Her BF, by TMZ Staff, tmz.com, November 23, 2016. According to Shields, Hoppy has been cc'ing him on what Shields considers "a flurry of disgusting, harassing emails" to Frankel and has threatened to sue him if he doesn't stop. Hoppy claims that as long as Frankel is dating Shields, "I have no choice but to have some type of relationship with him" and "As a concerned father, I often have to contact others when I cannot reach my daughter through her mother."
So which party is right? They both have valid points. Certainly, Hoppy should not be harassing Shields and sending unnecessary emails. But Hoppy has a valid argument that he needs to have some type relationship with Shields considering the relationship between Shields and Frankel and the fact that Shields likely spends significant time with his daughter. Of course, the best scenario would be for the men to have an amicable relationship to benefit the child but, considering the animosity between the parties since the beginning of their divorce, this may be unlikely. Hopefully a judge can help them work out an arrangement that benefits everyone. It should be noted that Frankel and Shields are not married and it is unknown if this relationship will stand the test of time. For that reason, Hoppy should consider asking the judge to come up with blanket communication rules that could cover future relationships as well.