Once you and your spouse make the decision to divorce, you might think
it is an acceptable time to embark on a new chapter and start dating.
However, dating while in the midst of divorce could complicate the divorce
proceedings and impact custody and child visitation decisions. Before
getting back into the dating scene, it is important to understand what
obstacles you may face by doing so.
The Impact of Dating on a Divorce
Dating before a divorce is finalized can have a number of effects on the
proceedings. Even in no-fault divorce states, it is still possible for
marital misconduct to be factored into decisions depending on the circumstances
involved. It is also possible for the new relationship to be considered
in the division of property or spousal support determinations, potentially
impacting the amount the dating spouse may receive if he or she is living
with a new partner. If a spouse is dating but not living with a new partner,
any expenditures due to the new relationship (gifts, vacations, other
spending on the new partner, etc.) could also be factored into property division.
On an emotional level, dating during a divorce can also create heightened
conflict. The spouse who is not dating might suspect cheating, or may
be angry that the other spouse is able to move on. These emotions may
make him or her less inclined to reasonably negotiate, which could lead
to a contentious and difficult environment in which to finalize the divorce.
Divorce is already a trying situation, especially for children. Adding
a new partner to the mix could make it even tougher for children to cope.
While courts generally do not allow the wishes of children to dictate
custody decisions, they might take an older child’s preference into
consideration, especially if the parent’s new partner is creating
an uncomfortable atmosphere at home. A spouse may also be resistant to
sharing custody for fear of being replaced by a new partner or if they
don’t think the new partner is a safe or acceptable presence in
their children’s lives.
For parents who plan on dating, it is best to keep the new partner separate
from children in order to avoid the possibility of the new relationship
impacting custody decisions.
McKinley Irvin’s Washington Divorce Attorneys
McKinley Irvin is the region’s largest family law firm, with offices
throughout the state of Washington and Oregon. Our clients benefit from
our diverse team of dedicated legal professionals, working together to
achieve successful results. Contact us today to learn how we may be able
to assist you.