Many parents wonder how much time should elapse before they introduce their children to the person they are currently dating after a divorce has been finalized. As difficult as it may be starting over with someone new in a relationship, it can be much harder for children to see a stranger come into their home that is seemingly going to “replace” their mom or dad.

Divorce lawyers explain that it is imperative to wait a certain amount of time to ensure the relationship is solid and has a future before bringing your new love bird into the home, especially if the divorce was a rough one. Experts say that instead of considering the actual amount of time that the relationship has been going on, parents should focus on the actual status of the relationship itself. How strong of a relationship is it? Do you see yourself getting remarried to this person? These are questions that should be asked and confirmed before introducing your children to your significant other.

Waiting a significant amount of time is also critical to ensure you get to know the person you are dating well enough. Not everyone is who they appear to be, so be careful not to introduce someone you barely know to your children who might have the potential to harm them. If there is something questionable about the individual, your ex-spouse might try to request full child custody. Make sure the person you are dating is also ready to take on the responsibility of raising children that are not theirs. Not everyone wants that kind of responsibility so it’s best to get that question answered right away.

By taking things nice and slow, you can be sure that integrating your new partner into your children’s lives will be as smooth as possible.