Dating During Divorce
California Family Law Specialists in San Diego
Because California is a “no-fault” divorce state, the only two reasons it recognizes for divorce are the incurable insanity of one spouse and irreconcilable differences between the two spouses. This means that neither spouse will have to prove that the other is guilty of any wrongdoing in order to end the marriage. This is good news for spouses who have begun dating other people or who are otherwise engaged in a romantic relationship with someone besides their current spouse during the process of divorce (although this is technically considered to be adultery).
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you are completely free to begin dating someone during your divorce without incurring any negative results. While a California court may not take the existence of your new boyfriend or girlfriend into consideration when making decisions about spousal support, your extramarital relationship could seriously affect your appearance of stability, responsibility, and fitness as a parent in child custody litigation. Bear in mind that your dating behavior and your choice of partners will be critically important in your child custody hearing. The character and criminal history of the person you are dating will be also be of interest to the court when determining who your child will live with and who will have the most sway in decisions about the child’s life and wellbeing.
A new dating relationship can also create a relational rift between you and your child. If it is in any way apparent that your child dislikes, resents, or is otherwise uncomfortable with the person you are dating, the court may determine that it is not in your child’s best interest to reside with you. On a personal level, beginning a new relationship before you are officially divorced from your current spouse could result in relational difficulties that can create unwanted distance between you and your child.
Also be aware that, when children are involved, contact with your ex-spouse will be unavoidable for years to come. Making decisions about your child’s welfare in the future may be made unnecessarily difficult by the souring effects of dating before your divorce is finalized. The various proceedings and decisions involved in finalizing your divorce may also go more smoothly if your spouse is willing to cooperate with you, which is unsurprisingly less likely in cases of adultery. If you are concerned that your new relationship or extramarital affair could get in the way of fair treatment during your divorce, get started defending yourself right away.