HERE IS MY RESPONSE TO A GREAT QUESTION:
I am going through a nasty divorce with custody issues. I met this fantastic younger man and I cannot stop thinking about him. He asked me on a date and I want to start dating him. Will this affect my divorce and what are the legal consequences?
LOVE LAWYER ANSWER:
There are no “legal consequences” to dating with respect to the child support, maintenance and property division statutes. These statutes say that these awards are made “without regard to marital misconduct.”
But if you are asking me the reality of dating during a divorce, my answer is clear. Dating during a divorce causes “the triple D effect”—Drama, Disintegration and Diversion. My advice to clients who are in the process of a divorce is NOT to date.
Drama: Dating causes unnecessary drama. When there has been infidelity or a paramour being thrown in the face of your spouse, it is like rubbing salt in his wounds. The new boyfriend (or girlfriend) becomes fair game and inevitably is pulled into the divorce process. The focus becomes the “other man” or woman and the case will take on a life of its own. Your husband, the “innocent spouse” will become vengeful and the divorce will no longer concern relevant issues. This is especially true when custody or visitation is an issue. Even if you believe you should win the “mother of the year” award, you will be blamed for spending time with your boyfriend instead of your children.
Disintegration: The majority of the cases can usually be settled by an agreement between the parties prior to going to trial. However, once your dating life begin or if it commenced during your marriage, negotiations at this point will be virtually impossible. The focal point will become your boyfriend and varying ways to torment you. Any hopes of resolving the case will be placed on the back burner until the venom runs out or the case proceeds to trial.
Diversion: The perceived happiness and fun that you believe dating will bring to you will inevitably be overshadowed by the problems you endure during your divorce. Before hopping into bed with your new found boy toy, think about whether the momentary pleasure is worth at least one additional year of litigating and double or triple the cost of your attorneys’ fees and costs. Perhaps it would be wise to invest in a different type of toy which can bring you equal pleasure and less hassle.
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