Life is unpredictable and new relationships can form at any time, including while a divorce is still pending and in the air. While most people feel that they are free to pursue a relationship during this time, the legal side of things can be a bit more complicated, and it’s not uncommon for us to get questions about how a new relationship might impact a divorce that is pending.
For this post, we’re looking at how dating affects two important components of divorce in California: spousal support and child custody. Note that the information contained in this post is general in nature, and we always advise that you reach out to a qualified legal professional if you’re looking for legal counsel aimed at addressing your specific circumstances and needs.
How does Dating Affect Spousal Support?
In many states, the party who is “at fault” for the divorce can face penalties or other types of “punishments.” Courts can choose to award additional spousal support and other measures when there’s proof that a person cheated or was involved in an extramarital affair.
In California, this is not the case and all divorces are considered no-fault. So while dating as a divorce hangs in the air is considered an extramarital affair, this has no bearing on the court’s decisions involving spousal support. When the courts in CA opt to grant additional alimony or spousal support, they don’t do it with the intention of punishing either party.
How does Dating Affect Child Custody?
This is where things can get a bit trickier. Child custody disputes center on assessing whether each parent can take care of and provide for his/her child’s needs. The courts will closely scrutinize the way that you behave and “carry yourself” around your child, and the presence of a new romantic partner could shape the court’s decision.
For better or for worse, your choice of partner reflects your ability to be a good judge of character. Furthermore, if the courts get a hint that your new relationship is interfering with your ability to be there for your child, they are more likely to look unfavorably upon your wishes and requests. While a new relationship doesn’t always impact child custody proceedings, the potential is there. You should tread very carefully, and if the custody dispute is especially fiery, consider holding off on your dating life until things settle back down.
If you want to learn more about this topic, or if you need to speak with a qualified family law attorney in California, count on the trusted legal experts at R & S Law Group, LLP. We offer free initial consultations, so feel free to call us at your earliest convenience.