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Beware of dating during a divorce

The question of whether or not to date during divorce proceedings is commonly a difficult one to answer. While it is understandable that a person dealing with emotional pain would find comfort in someone else, the implications as it pertains to child custody and parenting time can be troubling.

Essentially, divorcing parents may be angry about the prospect of their children being around (or parented by) the boyfriend or girlfriend of a soon-to-be spouse. This can create a great deal of unwanted emotional baggage which can manifest itself in bad decisions. For example, a parent may invite a physical confrontation with new love interest over his or her interest over the child.

Another potential problem may arise when it comes to a custody evaluator’s assessment of the situation. The new person may have some imperfections that would raise some concerns about the child’s well-being. For instance, boyfriends or girlfriends with criminal records, spotty employment histories and histories of past domestic abuse may raise red flags, even though the parent with the new beau may believe (even genuinely so) that these issues are merely a part of the person’s past.

Moreover, having a new love interest around the kids may confuse them. Children may already be confused by the change in circumstances, adding a potential step-parent to the equation may have additional effects on their sense of family.

Because of these potential scenarios and how they can affect child custody decisions, it is best to speak with a family law attorney to seek advice about whether a new relationship should be initiated during a divorce.

Source: “How overnight dates could seriously damage your custody case,” Lenore Skonal, Mar.10, 2014

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