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Should You Date During Divorce?

If you are involved in a New Jersey marriage dissolution proceeding, there certainly is nothing wrong about thinking about and planning for your future. Contemplating life without your current spouse is both understandable and appropriate. Indeed, there are some steps you can take to create a new life in light of the end of your marriage even while you are involved in your marriage dissolution case. With these thoughts in mind, you may find yourself wondering whether or not you should date during your divorce?

Grounds for Divorce

The state of New Jersey has established a variety of reasons up which an individual may pursue a marriage dissolution case. Grounds for divorce in New Jersey include:

  • Irreconcilable differences
  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Incarceration
  • Extreme mental or physical cruelty
  • And others

If a divorce complaint is founded upon an allegation of irreconcilable differences, a spouse seeking to end a marriage need not allege any type of wrongdoing on the part of the other spouse. On the other hand, a divorce founded upon adultery does necessitate a demonstration that the other spouse is engaged in an intimate relationship while married to the individual seeking a marriage dissolution.

A person might attempt to make the contention that if a marriage dissolution proceeding is premised upon irreconcilable differences, electing to date during divorce is a nonissue. Fault of any sort is not at issue in the divorce itself. As will be discussed in a moment, this type of conclusion is too simplistic and fraught with potential danger. In other words, even in a case involving irreconcilable differences, electing to date during divorce is not recommended.

Children, Child Custody, and Dating While Divorcing

Electing to date during divorce can become an issue if child custody is part of the marriage dissolution equation. A New Jersey court applies what is known as the best interests of a child standard in making decisions pertaining to child custody and parenting time.

The fact that a parent has elected to date during divorce will become part of the overall equation when a court applies the best interests of a child standard in making custody and parenting time decisions. The court will be obliged to consider the dating partner of the spouse who is involved in an intimate relationship with another during the marriage dissolution process.

The court very well could conclude that there is something in the life of the dating partner of one of the spouses to a divorce that bears negatively on the application of the best interests of a child standard. In other, more simplistic terms, a spouse who decides to date during his or her divorce may have taken a step that will thwart his or her desires to obtain custody or a particular type of parenting time schedule.

Dating Unnecessarily Heightens Emotions and Tensions in a Divorce Proceeding

A practical consideration is that injecting a dating spouse into the marriage dissolution mix very well may heighten the emotions and tensions associated with a divorce case. When emotions and tensions rise, resolving issues in a divorce proceeding is more complicated. A divorce case is apt to stretch on for a longer – and more expensive – period of time.

In the final analysis, if you are in a divorce case and meet someone you would like to date, or if you believe you are heading to divorce court and have an extramarital relationship, you need to heed a very basic consideration. In many ways, you are best served, including protecting your vital legal interests, by not dating while your divorce case is pending.

If you find yourself with questions about divorce and are in need of legal representation, the legal team at the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen is available to you. An attorney will be able to answer any questions you have about your situation. These include any questions you might have about the propriety or advisability of dating during New Jersey divorce proceedings. You can connect with a New Jersey divorce attorney from our firm by telephoning (201) 845-7400. Be well aware that our law firm will never charge a legal fee for a preliminary consultation regarding divorce or a related legal matter.

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