Is It Smart to Begin Dating Before Your Divorce Is Finalized?

Dating Before You Divorce Could Impact Your Case

According to research from the National Center for Family & Marriage Research, New Jersey has one of the lowest divorce rates in the nation, with just 12.9 divorces per 1,000, as compared to the national average of 16.9 per 1,000. Many Garden State residents who are in the process of dissolving a marriage wonder whether it’s a good idea to begin dating before the divorce decree is finalized. An experienced Hackensack divorce lawyer can offer you practical advice on this matter, as well as other issues pertaining to your divorce.

Could Dating Affect Your Spousal Support?

Divorce is often a drawn-out process, during which your stress levels may be much higher than normal. Beginning a new relationship during the divorce process can offer a welcome distraction from divorce proceedings, as well as a valuable emotional support.

As tempting as this may sound, it may not be a good idea for several reasons:

  • Dating can negatively impact your settlement: Your soon-to-be former spouse is likely to take umbrage when you begin to see someone, and this will almost certainly affect his or her willingness to negotiate amicably with you.
  • Dating may be considered adultery: Initiating a sexual relationship with a third party while you are married is technically adulterous behavior, which can affect some prenuptial agreements. New Jersey is one of the handful of states that still recognizes fault in divorce, and adultery is one of the grounds for divorce in the Garden State.
  • Dating may affect your parenting arrangements: Your co-parent may try to limit the amount of time you spend with your child if your new partner is going to be around.

In most instances, adultery will not affect whether or not spousal support is awarded or the amount of spousal support if it is awarded. In awarding spousal support, courts typically look at factors like the duration of the marriage, each spouse’s respective ages and health status, and what financial resources each spouse expects to have available once the marriage is dissolved. However, if the adultery has had a detrimental financial impact on the marital resources being divided, the court may take that impact into consideration. The court may also factor in the emotional effects of adultery if a spouse has contributed little to the marriage while having multiple affairs.

Could Dating Affect Your Child Custody Arrangements?

If you’re a parent in the midst of divorce proceedings, consider how your actions could affect your relationship with your child. Divorce is a stressful event in a child’s life. Chances are that your son or your daughter needs more of your time than ever. Sharing you with a new love interest could have a psychologically harmful effect upon your child.

Additionally, if your former partner becomes resentful because you entered into a new relationship, negotiating an equitable parenting plan is bound to become more problematic. If you and your spouse can’t agree on a parenting plan, then the court will be called upon to decide the issue.

When courts are called upon to make child custody decisions, their paramount concern is the child’s welfare. If the court determines that the person you’re dating is someone whose presence might well have a damaging effect on your child, they may take this into consideration in its custody determination. The court may also look at how much time you’re spending with your new love interest and whether or not this time is being spent at the expense of quality time with your child. This may be taken into account as well when the court creates the initial custody order.

If you’re a New Jersey resident in the midst of a divorce, and you’re wondering how a new relationship may impact your divorce proceedings, it’s in your best interests to consult with an experienced Hackensack divorce lawyer. The law office of Kelly Berton Rocco has been helping clients in the Garden State deal with issues raised by marital dissolutions since 1993. Contact our office in Hackensack today by calling (201) 343-0078.

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