Hi everybody, question please. First, a little background.
My BF left his STBX 16 months ago and the divorce is in the works. They have lived in separate states during the entire separation, one in NC (jurisdiction for divorce), the other in MD. The STBX is quite aware of who I am (I’ve been involved since the day he left), blames me for her divorce, and until recently threatened BF that if she found out I was around her children, he’d never see them again. Dad didn’t want to rock the boat or take a chance that visitation would be denied, so he didn’t push it. But 6 months ago, we moved in together. Within one month of our move, despite her constant ranting and threats to the contrary, she did allow the children to come stay with us for a week (yes, first visit was a full week!). She was angry after that visit because the kids had such a good time, and threatened to never let them come back unless I agreed to leave my home during their visit, but just a month later she was ‘over it’ and they came for another week. Since then, visitation frequency has increased even more and they’re back every 2 or 3 weeks, always staying with us in our home. [See, we’re dealing with a mom who isn’t particularly fond of parenting, and whose priority is freedom AWAY from her kids, so in her mind, her own freedom takes precedence over our living situation, hence the increasing frequency of visitation now that Dad has a home where she actually CAN drop the kids off (before moving in with me, he shared a small home with several relatives where he and the kids had to sleep on sofas or floors)].
OK, moving on! Thus far, my BF and I have not shared a bed when the children are with us (our own decision as the kids became more acclimated to me, to our new home, to dad’s new relationship), and because a week isn’t that long and we really expected that the 7-hour drive (one way) would limit the number of visits. But now it’s becoming clear that because she enjoys the freedom, we’re going to see them more often and frequently for long durations of time, most immediately 10-days of Spring Break and 4-weeks in the Summer, and we are rethinking the sleeping arrangements. A week out of your own bed is one thing, but having to sleep on a sofa or share a bed with your child for a month is an entirely different animal (not to mention unhealthy for the child).
We understand that some judges still have a strong dislike for cohabitation among non-married couples, and we accept that we may be snubbed for that, that’s fine. But if we’ve already broken that rule, is it then any worse to share a bed? If their mother has accepted that her STBX is living with another woman and she voluntarily (because as yet there is no written visitation order) and routinely - and increasingly over the course of 6 months - has allowed the children to visit their father in his new home, with his GF, is there then any ‘line in the sand’ that says we can’t also share a bedroom? Does Mom’s approval of visitation with us translate into her then not having a say about what we do within the confines of our own home, and thus by accepting the living situation she also defers to Dad’s judgment during his visits? Or does the court see them as different issues, and would they allow her to dictate what can and cannot happen in our home when her children are present?
Bottom line - It’s been 6 months of visitation with the kids in our home. Can we start sharing a bedroom? Will the court shrug it off since Mom allows the kids to stay with us anyway? And if not, what could/would be the consequence to Dad of us doing it anyway? Is it enforceable? Could it actually lead to denied visitation, or would it be no more than the judge just expressing his discontent, but not really “doing” anything about it?
Thank you as always.