Closeup of male hand signing divorce papers

After divorce or the end of a relationship, most times former partners
move on to new connections and romantic interests. New significant others
can pose complicated and emotionally charged problems when the former
partners share children together. Some couples have what is called a “paramour
clause” in their divorce or custody order. A paramour clause is
a part of an order that restricts the parties’ ability to expose
the children to new romantic partners. In New Jersey, these are called
“DeVita” restraints, so named because of a case from 1976, called
. However, recent case law indicates that the attitude of the courts is
changing with the times.

Mantle v. Mantle. the issue of whether a DeVita restraint should be enforced came before
the court. In that case, a divorcing couple came to an agreement that
they would have an indefinite ban on exposing their child to a new love
interest. A few months after the parties entered into this agreement,
the mother tried to enforce the DeVita clause against the father. The
mother alleged that the father was allowing his new girlfriend to have
contact with the child during his parenting time, but she did not allege
that the girlfriend was doing anything inappropriate or endangering to
the child. The court refused to enforce the DeVita clause, even though
it was something the parties had agreed on. The court noted that the DeVita
case was old, and that societal norms had changed such that it was no
longer unusual for new romantic partners to spend the night, even in the
absence of marriage. The court determined that any DeVita clause or restriction
must be reasonable, based on the best interest of the child. The court
ruled that any length of time in such a restrictive clause should be based
on how long the parents have been separated, how long the parent has been
in the new relationship and any diagnosed psychological issues of the
child. In this particular case, the judge ultimately decided that the
parents may introduce new partners to the child after six months, and
those partners may start spending the night after a year.

If you have questions about DeVita restrictions, call us today for an appointment
at (732) 479-4711. We have experience in child custody and the transition
to new relationships for our clients, and can help you navigate this emotionally
tense time.

About the Author


John Nachlinger is a co-founder and managing attorney of Netsquire, a family law firm focused on streamlining divorces through effective mediation, settlement drafting, and court filing assistance. As a New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney and Qualified Mediator, John guides couples toward equitable agreements without the cost and stress of litigation.

Recognized as a New Jersey Super Lawyer for over a decade, John’s client-focused approach aims to foster understanding during challenging transitions. With a background spanning top law journals, judicial clerkships, and boutique family law firms, John now applies his analytical skills to create workable solutions for all parties. His mediation services reshape the divorce journey by prioritizing compassion and compromise.

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