It sounds as though her attorney did the only thing that he could have to get shared custody. Hiring your own attorney would not be necessary because custody does not have anything to do with you. You shouldn’t even be called to court to testify since you have not been around them to witness their relationship. If they separated in Dec. 2007 then to me, August is not “too soon” to introduce a new person. Providing that person is going to be involved considerably in their lives. IMHO it’s not a good idea to introduce children to a stream of people, but depending on their ages, having them know you are dating someone is alright
It’s inevitable that both parents will have new people in their lives and IMHO this is just prolonging the inevitable. There’s also the potential that the children will be upset that mom is seeing someone for however long and they don’t know about it and haven’t me you.
She needs to contact her attorney and ask them what is the next step with having this removed from the order, once the divorce is final. As I said, temporary orders can last for a lot longer than they are originally set for. I believe that after the divorce is final, this really will no longer be a factor because one parent can not dictate who the children are around while in the other parent’s care, unless there are known issues. If they have joint custody now and continue with that schedule until after the divorce and then you are introduced to the children, the most that can happen is that he files for primary custody. But he has no grounds to file for primary custody if the shared custody situation works. He is unlikely to get primary custody just for the purpose of keeping the children away from another person in his ex’s life. That is not in the best interest of the children and even a “old fashioned” judge knows this. The Feb date was probably set so that the divorce proceedings would have time to finalize. As long as there are no valid reasons, this will probably be removed from the order after the divorce.
My husband’s ex pitched a fit about me right up until we were married. “She has no right…” “She better not ever…” “I’m their mother and she can’t…” and my all time favorite…“They don’t have to be nice to her, listen to her, or respect her. She’s not their mother”. She’d fuss about me doing one thing and fuss about me not doing something else. I couldn’t tell the children to put their seatbelt on or put a coat on when it’s 20 degrees out. I was supposed to tell him that he needed to tell them. Then, "It’s cold outside, why didn’t she tell them to put on a coat? See, I told you she doesn’t care about my kids"
All this in front of the children, and in an effort to keep control. I will admit that to some extent this worked because it has kept me from being closer to my stepsons as I would like. The boys still wait for their father to repeat something that I’ve asked them to do… but I am their family now also, so all it really did was cause more problems and confusion for them.
I commend you on being concerned enough for this lady and her children to research this and try to find a solution. The best advice I can give is that since you are not allowed at this point to be around the children, give things time to calm down and quit worrying so much about this right now. Be supportive and see where your relationship is in Jan. If you two are closer and it looks as though you are going to be very involved, then it needs to be discussed with the attorney about having it removed from the final custody order. A lot can change in 6 months during a divorce, as everyone on this site could tell you. What matters to the ex now, may not make a difference in a month much less six.