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A divorce is a chance to start all over again. Many people embrace this opportunity. They know that doing so can open doors and let them get the life they’ve always wanted. One often exciting thing about getting a divorce is being able to think about dating and forming personal relationships again. Finding someone new to be with is a great chance to get past unpleasant memories and move confidently into the future. At the same time, doing so can be highly complicated in the aftermath of a prior relationship. This is particularly true for those who have been through a divorce and have kids. Both parties may feel the need to find a new partner who is more supportive of their goals. Both parties should be careful when moving on to a new relationship after a divorce. This is especially important for the partner who has primary custody of the children.
A Cautious Approach
Keep in mind that the court system cannot mandate behavior between two grownups involved in a custody agreement unless under certain circumstances. Court officials cannot necessarily vet every single person’s dating choices even if the other partner does not like them. A court may step in if the new partner has a criminal record of some kind, especially if that record is related to abuse of children in any way. In that case, the person should be highly cautious about dating that person as doing so can have serious repercussions that may endanger their ability to keep primary child custody. If the person’s criminal record is known about in advance before the person begin dating them, this can be potential grounds to revoke the person’s custodial arrangements. If it is not known about in advance but is later discovered, this can also have serious legal consequences. The courts may look closely at the custodial parent and what kind of relationships they have chosen to form in the aftermath of the divorce. They may decide one parent is no longer fit to be the primary parent unless they agree to end the relationship or make sure the person they are dating is not around the children.
If there are no potential criminal issues for the spouse to deal with, it’s also best to go slowly. It’s best to keep any new relationship at bay for at least a few months. Doing so has many advantages for both the custodial parent and for all of their children. A separation and divorce are hard on children. Children may feel a tremendous sense of loss in the aftermath. A child may feel they are the reason their parents are no longer together and may become frustrated or depressed. A parent who takes up with another person immediately can create further chaos and feelings of anxiety and anger for children. Children may resent having another person around that is not related to them. In that case, the child may even decide to take action and speak up. They may tell the other parent they do not want to be around the new person in their primary custodial parent’s life. A court may take this into consideration going forward. The non-custodial parent can head back into court and ask that the child’s wishes be heard when it comes to matters of custody going forward. It’s entirely possible that the judge may decide that the child’s wishes should be honored. In that case, the child may want to stay with the other parent. A court can take custody from one parent and give it to another instead.
The decision to bring in another member of the household may also have other reverberations. After a divorce, the judge may mandate certain financial arrangements. In many cases, they will mandate a certain level of funding for the primary custodial parent. This is because that parent is taking on the role of providing things such as food and a roof over the child’s head as well as help with getting to school and after school care arrangements. Bringing a new person into the relationship can have fiscal consequences. The new person may help with specifics such as food and the mortgage. The other parent may find out about this and ask the court to reduce the amount of child support they pay because someone else is helping out. This is why experts recommend keeping highly detailed personal fiscal records if any custody arrangements are challenged