July 7, 2014 By Paul Wallin
dating during child custody
Dating during a child custody battle

Your child custody battle contains many facets and complicated details. It involves figuring out a new plan for your child’s life, while probably trying to handle the stress that inevitably comes with your divorce proceedings. As you and the courts try to determine child custody and parenting time for your children, you may think the court’s decision is based on what happened in the past, during your marriage.

In many cases though, the past is not the only thing affecting a child custody battle. In fact, both your current dating life and prior dating history will have an impact on the proceedings. In many ways, it is not the dating itself that can damage your case, but what results from it. Here are 5 things the court may consider when delving into your dating life.

1.      Has your dating life affected your ability to care for your child?

If you and your former spouse began distancing yourselves from each other in the months or years leading up to the divorce, you may have already begun seeing other people. If this affected your ability to provide proper care for your child, this can keep you from winning custody of your child.1

The parent who has the most involvement in the child’s daily life usually has an advantage in winning a child custody case. If your dating life kept you from being involved in important activities in the child’s life, such as sports, school functions,  homework, feeding, bathing or reading, then this could significantly affect your case.2

2.      Does your dating history or current relationship cause you to speak badly of the other parent?

Any new relationships will undoubtedly draw you further apart from your former spouse; however, it should not lead you to begin saying negative things about him or her. If you are constantly showing anger and negativity towards your ex-spouse, your child will likely experience some confusion or anxiety as a result of your resentment towards the other parent.

To win a child custody case, you should show the judge that you wish to promote the best interest of your child. This may mean encouraging the relationship your child and the other parent have together. If your current relationship only leads you to disparage the other parent, this can keep you from winning your custody battle in court.3

3.      Do you or your new partner exhibit a lack of self-control?

You and your current partner might harbor negative feelings towards your former spouse as you work through the divorce; however, it is important for you to maintain self-control. Any violent incident or angry outburst that occurs can be held against you in court. Anything from unfriendly email exchanges with your former spouse to heated confrontations with your child’s teachers will be evaluated in court as a reflection of your character and your suitability as the primary caregiver of your child. Neither you, nor your current partner, should act out in front of teachers, friends, neighbors or peers. Most importantly, neither of you should act out in the courtroom, especially towards the judge. This is a sure way to reflect a lack of self-control which will likely result in losing your custody battle.4

On that same note, any past instances of your partner acting out in front of the child will harm your case. If a judge feels that granting you custody will put your child in an unstable environment, your chances of winning are greatly diminished.

4.      Does the type of person you dated or are currently dating reflect negatively on you?

For example, dating a person with a criminal history probably will not help your case. If you are currently dating somebody with a criminal history, a judge may feel the need to keep your child away from that environment. Even if it was a past relationship, dating a criminal or ex-criminal shows poor judgment on your part. On the other hand, dating a doctor or lawyer may have the opposite effect.5

5.      Did the relationship begin while you were still married or during the divorce process?

Beginning a new relationship while still legally tied to your spouse is considered an extramarital affair. Extramarital affairs do not necessarily affect your chances of winning custody of your child, unless the affair had an effect on your child’s life in some way.

The court’s ultimate goal is to reach the best outcome for the child’s welfare. Therefore, if your relationship has somehow affected your child or showed you putting your own needs ahead of your child’s, this could be used against you in court.6

 Call the Child Custody Lawyers at Wallin & Klarich Today

Although your new relationships will not directly affect your ability to win a child custody battle, the courts are always looking out for the best interest of your child. Therefore, your dating life must not negatively affect you or your ability to raise your child in the best possible environment. If you are in any way unsure about your dating life and whether it can affect your case, it is absolutely necessary that you seek help from a skilled attorney. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have been successfully handling child custody cases for over 30 years.

With offices located in Orange County, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Torrance, Riverside, West Covina, Victorville, Ventura, San Diego and Sherman Oaks, one of our knowledgeable family law attorneys is available to help you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (888) 749-7428 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.

1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jacqueline-harounian/how-mothers-lose-custody_b_1140298.html

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5. http://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/will-dating-hurt-my-custody-battle–636656.html

6. http://family-law.freeadvice.com/family-law/child_custody/extramarital_affair_imapact_custody.htm

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