Dating as a Single Parent: You, Your Kids and Your Significant Other

Dating as a Single Parent Reviewed by Brick Child Custody Lawyers

Advising Clients in towns throughout Ocean County towns such as Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey

Brick Family and Child Custody Lawyers Dating can be empowering and boost one’s self-esteem when compared to the unappreciated, undesired and out of control feeling one going through a divorce might experience. The emotional stress and financial strain of a divorce or a civil union dissolution can make the idea of dating or get into a new relationship unthinkable, but for many, it can be seen as a breath of fresh air and a chance for a new beginning. As a single or soon to be single parent, one hopes that their new partner shares a respect for parenthood, an understanding for the complexities of child custody, has patience for the challenges of co-parenting, and a sense of personal boundaries when it comes to custody arrangements, financial responsibilities of child support, and the emotional well-being or best interests of their child. Whether the new partner understands it or not, they must respect the importance of this parent-child relationship and how it may impact various aspects of their new relationship landscape.

Things To NOT DO Prior to or Soon After Your Monmouth County, NJ Divorce

Your children and their best interests are your number one priority. As it relates to your new romantic partner, DO NOT:

  • under any circumstances, bring them to court
  • allow them to contact your spouse whether by post, phone, text, email or social media
  • create a dating website profile
  • showcase your new romantic relationship, as if you are already divorced
  • spend marital money on your romantic partner
  • allow them to parent or discipline your children

Can Dating Negatively Impact my Point Pleasant, NJ Child Custody Matters?

Significant others can potentially have an effect on child custody in certain circumstances if it impacts the child’s best interest. If one parent is spending a substantial amount of time with the new love interest, especially at the expense of quality parenting time with the children, then the judge may take the relationship into account. If the new partner engages in domestic violence or substance abuse, this potential danger to the children due will be taken into account not only informing the initial custody order but if one parent must ultimately return to court to modify the parenting schedule to keep the children safe from the new significant other. In brief, parents need to make sure that the behavior with the new boyfriend or girlfriend is not disruptive to a child, as the child’s needs must take priority above the parent’s desire to start entering a new relationship.

What is the ‘revolving door’ syndrome?

What is the ‘revolving door’ syndrome?The ‘revolving door’ syndrome occurs when children seem to constantly be meeting a series of new dates, week after week. This is not fair to the children. If you are on friendly terms with your ex, many relationship experts suggest discussing with them how new partners are introduced, so you both adopt a similar approach. It may also be possible to consider the option of meeting the new partner before they are introduced to the children. The sudden introduction of a new person can be awkward and is not necessarily fair to the children or yourself.

In New Jersey, there have been legal and moral debates regarding to what extent children of marriage should be exposed to their parent’s new romantic partner, during a separation or once divorced has been finalized. Some couples may have a “paramour clause” or “DeVita restraint” in their divorce or custody order that restricts the parties’ ability to expose the children to new romantic partners. Named after DeVita v. DeVita, 145 N.J. Super. 120 (App. Div. 1976) recent case law indicates that the attitude of the courts is changing with the times.

In Mantle v. Mantle, an attempt to enforce a DeVita restraint came before the court. Although the divorcing couple agreed to an indefinite ban on exposing their child to a new romantic interest, the mother alleged her ex was allowing his new girlfriend to have contact with their child during his parenting time. This was despite the girlfriend not doing anything deemed inappropriate or harmful to the child. Although both parties agreed to the “Devita” clause, the court refused to enforce it, noting that the DeVita case law no longer reflected societal norms and that it was no longer unusual for new romantic partners to spend the night, even in the absence of marriage.

To that end, the court agreed that future DeVita clauses must be reasonable and based on the best interest of the child. In addition, the judge decided the parents may introduce new partners to the child after six months, and those partners may start spending the night after a year.

If you are in a similar situation and are unsure what to do, speak with a family therapist, who can help you decide (based on your unique situation) the most appropriate way introduce a new partner into the children’s lives and lessen the amount of fear, discomfort, and uncertainty the child may experience

A Dangerous Mix: Dating and Parental Alienation Allegations in Toms River, NJ

Even in the most amicable divorces, co-parenting relationships can be stressful and cause parents to behave irrationally, resulting in high-conflict custody situations or parental alienation. Parental alienation is any action (or inaction) intentionally or unintentionally taken by one parent which results in their children harboring negative feelings towards their other parent. Many former or soon to be ex-spouses, may have struggled to cope with physical versus legal custody matters. Though some parents may intentionally try to sabotage their child’s relationship with the other parent, others may not even realize that what they are doing is considered parental alienation when they speak negatively about the new love interest(s) of their ex-spouse. New Jersey family courts frown heavily upon parental alienation, and legal action such as a child custody modification may become necessary in order to make sure the child’s best interests are met.

Is Dating in During my Divorce Considered Adultery in Ocean County, NJ?

When a party begins a divorce action, the marriage is considered “dead.” Starting over can do wonders for your mental health and sense of self-worth. Since divorce can be a long process, it comes as no surprise that some people may start moving on before or during the divorce. By embracing positivity one can set the scene for an amicable divorce and rational decision-making process.

Though technically, getting a bite to eat or seeing a movie isn’t considered adultery, even if the participants have more than friendship on their minds, most dating experts and experienced family lawyers recommend waiting until your divorce is finalized before your begin pursuing new romantic interests. Some people might think that adultery is only committed when sexual contact is made between a married individual and someone who is not their spouse, not really considering non-consummated “affairs of the heart” can be just as emotionally damaging to the trust and longevity of a relationship.

Each divorce is different, so consulting an experienced attorney about your options regarding separation prior to divorce, can help you better understand your rights and options as you move forward.

What Financial Impact Could Dating or Adultery Have on my Brick, NJ Alimony or Spousal Support?

One should not underestimate the effect dating might have on the other party’s emotional state; which can impact that person’s decision making in the divorce process and cause them to take unreasonable positions regarding alimony and spousal support because they are angry or upset.

Contact Us At Our Brick Or Sea Girt Office LocationsAdultery, in general, does not increase the amount of spousal support one might receive. Since New Jersey is a no-fault divorce state, if one spouse alleges adultery, the name of the new significant other needs to be included in the divorce pleadings. In addition, if the cheating had a detrimental financial impact on the marriage (i.e., lavish spending or gift giving)  or personal property was somehow dissipated for the benefit of the extra-marital relationship, it may be possible for the court to take that into account.

You may lose your alimony if you are cohabiting with a partner in a marital-type relationship. Accordingly, you need to remain cognizant of how living with your new partner may affect the amount of alimony you receive in divorce or whether your ex-spouse can make an application to terminate alimony based on your cohabitation after divorce. It is important to note that this is a one-sided consequence. If you are paying alimony, feel free to date to your heart’s content – it won’t affect your obligation to pay your ex-spouse alimony.

Contact Us At Our Brick Or Sea Girt Office Locations

At the Toms River, NJ law office of Peter J. Bronzino, we understand how important your children are to you, and we are ready to work with you to pursue a co-parent or child custody arrangement that works for you and your children. 

To speak with our offices today in a free consultation about your child custody issue, please contact us online or through our Brick offices at (732) 812-3102.