Many divorcing people – particular those who are also parents — wonder whether they can or should date new people while the divorce is pending.
Legally, “dating,” means one-on-one social contact with another person.
“Don’t hurry to introduce someone new to your kids,” says Aaron Welch, a licensed therapist with The Lifeworks Group in Winter Park, Fla.
Judges rarely punish someone who begins dating – sexually or otherwise – once they have physically separated from their spouse.
Teens are not interested in the new partner giving parenting advice unless they are solicited.
New partners need to learn to ask questions, show interest in the things they do but don’t give advice.
A whole subset of risk arises when child custody is an issue. A parent’s immoral behavior is not one of these criteria; however, it can be of some relevance in a custody case. Dating often leads to accusations of adultery, and sometimes dating leads to actual adultery.
“A parent’s morality, while a proper factor for consideration, is limited in its force to what relevancy it has, either directly or indirectly, to the welfare of the child.” , 343 S. Post-separation adultery can be a major factor in alimony and a small factor in property division. Code § 20-3-130(A), “No alimony may be awarded a spouse who commits adultery before the earliest of these two events: (1) the formal signing of a written property or marital settlement agreement or (2) entry of a permanent order of separate maintenance and support or of a permanent order approving a property or marital settlement agreement between the parties.” Post-separation dating by a supported spouse often leads to an adultery claim being made by the supporting spouse, who wants to be free of the potential alimony claim.
My preference as the attorney is that my clients don’t date until they are divorced (or at least until they have a final order of separate maintenance): a client who doesn’t date is not going to create any dating-related complications in his or her case.