If you and your spouse have physically separated, you might think you have leave enough to start dating again. Legally, however, your actions could fulfill the definition of adultery. Even if your ex-spouse has given you permission to date again, or if he or she has a new significant other, think twice before taking on a new relationship before the finalization of your divorce in California. Otherwise, it may be possible for your ex-spouse to use the fact that you are dating against you during the divorce.
The dangers of dating while your divorce is still pending are not only legal. Jumping into another relationship too soon could also lead to emotional tolls for you and your children if you have kids. You might think you are ready to start dating again only to find that you cannot dedicate 100% of your attention to your new relationship. You may be operating under extreme stress because of your divorce and are not your normal self. A new relationship might serve as a distraction during your divorce, but it could also just be a way to put off dealing with your true emotions. Protect yourself emotionally by waiting until you are fully mentally ready to commit to a new relationship.
Child Custody Complications
Dating someone new right away has the potential to impact child custody in California. If your divorce case goes to trial, a judge will be the person who decides how much time you get to spend with your child. Judges in California always look to the child’s best interests when deciding custody matters. It could put a judge off to find out that you have already introduced someone new into your life – someone who may be spending time with your children.
A judge will need information about everyone you plan on introducing to your children, especially if you think the new relationship is serious and he or she could potentially move in with you. If the judge decides that your new significant other could pose any threats to your children – physically or emotionally – it could negatively impact your odds of securing primary custody. This is especially true if your new spouse has a history of alcohol or drug use, criminal activity, or domestic violence.
Dating during your divorce could also have adverse financial impacts. If you start spending money on your new spouse, such as on expensive dinners, trips or jewelry, it could be more difficult to state your case for alimony on either side. If you are trying to obtain alimony, your ex-spouse may be able to use how much you have spent on your new relationship as proof that you are not in financial straits. If you are trying to avoid paying alimony, your ex-spouse could use your recent expenditures as proof that you have the ability to pay.
If you move in with your new spouse, it could also take away your eligibility for spousal support. Cohabitating with someone in California can be enough to show a judge that you do not need further financial support from your ex-spouse, depending on the circumstances. Cohabitating could also decrease the amount you could receive in child support since you will have someone else sharing the costs of childcare with you.
If your new relationship does not last, the original terms of your divorce decree, made when you were with your new spouse, may still apply. This could mean not receiving any spousal support or receiving a smaller portion of assets even if you break up with your new spouse. While it is possible to petition the courts for a modification of a support order or child custody agreement if your station changes, it is easier to get the arrangement you want from the beginning. Avoid dating while your divorce is still pending to protect yourself financially and emotionally, for additional questions contact some of the best Sacramento family law attorneys in Northern California.