As a follow up on our June 10, 2011 blog more regarding adultery and introducing a new relationship to your child(ren), we thought it may be best to touch on dating during your divorce proceedings. Typically, we advise clients to refrain from dating while their divorce is pending and we do so for several reasons.
First, as explained in the previous blog, it could be considered adultery to be dating while married if your spouse can prove the elements necessary to establish adultery. Although parties may be separated while waiting for a divorce, they are still technically married and therefore, it is still considered adultery, which is both a ground for divorce and a crime in the State of Maryland.
Second, it may not be what is in the best interest of your child(ren) and if you are not putting your child(ren)’s best interest first then you may be facing an uphill battle if custody is an issue in your matter. While dating may not offend a Judge, it will not be helpful to your case if the Judge feels that your children are being negatively affected by your dating life and you have still chosen to partake in it. Even if the individual you are dating is wonderful and wonderful to your child(ren), your children are still going through a major adjustment period and to have one or possibly two new individuals then become a part of their homes and time with their parents may not be what is best. Additionally, while your children may not overtly be exhibiting problems as a result of your pending divorce, it is best to be able to focus all of your attention on them during your time with them to be aware of any issues they may be experiencing.
Third, it is always better to do the right thing, even if your spouse is not, while a divorce is pending. Many clients are frustrated by their spouse’s continued misbehavior and feel that it will continue to go unnoticed. If and when it is noticed and considered by a Judge, then it is much better to be on the “clean hands” side of that dispute. Two wrongs never make a right.
Fourth, while you may have your children’s best interests at heart, those that you date may not. If those who you choose to date have criminal records, partake in use of drugs or excessive use of alcohol, it could be looked upon negatively by your association with such a person. While you may be a law abiding citizen, surrounding your child(ren) with those who are not is not in their best interest and could impact a custody decision if the individual is having a negative influence on your children.
Fifth, in a few cases the activities of the dating spouse have become pertinent for financial reasons. For instance, if you are making a claim for alimony, but are going on trips, out to lavish dinners and events with the individual you are dating and your spouse finds out about it on Facebook or through other means this may also hurt your claim.
Sixth, not dating during the divorce will give you and your spouse one less thing to argue about, and therefore, reduce the amount of conflict involved in your divorce. During a time when not much may be agreed upon, it is not wise to add more fuel to the fire.
Although the year or so your divorce is pending may seems like a lifetime, in the end waiting it out is definitely the safe bet and may be the best for you and your children. For more information on Maryland divorce contact an experienced Maryland divorce attorney.