After a marriage ends, both parties typically work hard on moving on with their lives. Finalizing a divorce provides closure to a broken relationship. When a couple has children together, however, lines of communication must remain open and ex-spouses must stay in touch. If you are thinking about dating again, it is important to keep in consideration the effect your new relationship may have on your child and your ability to effectively co-parent with your ex-spouse.
Following are some helpful guidelines and tips for newly divorced parents considering dating.
Make an agreement
Some clients make agreements in their divorce settlements that their children will not be introduced to significant others until a set amount of time has passed since the divorce. Their mutual goal is not to disrupt the children’s lives with new people during an unstable time. This type of agreement works for some couples, not for others, but it is a solution worth looking into.
Remember your child’s best interests
When the court assigned child custody, it did so with the best interests of your child in mind. This means that, even if you don’t agree, the parent with custody is assumed fit to decide what types of people can be around your child. Of course, you are right to presume the other parent is prioritizing your child’s best interests. You should do so as well when deciding whether or not to introduce a new romantic interest to your child. Ensure you really know this person, their character and how it would affect your child if the two of you broke up.
Consider child support and alimony
Remember that your divorce agreement includes child support and alimony, which are based on expenses at the time of your split. If one of you moves in with a new partner, the other may request the court modify the order to reduce support.
Make sure your kids are ready
Just because you may be ready to begin dating, it doesn’t mean your children are. Many kids need time to emotionally adjust to a divorce, to new arrangements and to the thought of a parent in a new relationship. Although your kids may seem mature and well-adjusted, divorce can be very hard on children. Some kids can benefit from therapy, providing them with tools to help cope with these changes.
What about dating during divorce?
Although dating during divorce or separation is not against the law, most attorneys advise against it. Dating during this time may be seen as marital misconduct, and your spouse may accuse you of starting the relationship while you were still married, citing grounds for divorce. In turn, this could affect decisions on alimony and asset division.
The family law attorneys at Shepherd & Long, P.C. have combined decades of experience working with divorce clients. We provide knowledgeable guidance and honest advice for people and families across East Tennessee. To schedule your free consultation, please call our Maryville offices at 865-982-8060, or we invite you to complete our contact form.