Life is messy, complicated, and for the most part, unpredictable. You may have married your spouse with the feeling that there could not possibly be anyone else for you. Years later, you now realize that the person you married is no longer the right one for you, and you find yourself in the middle of a divorce and custody battle. You just want it to end so you can start writing the next chapter of your life.
Then along comes the new Mr. or Ms. Right. Should you go for it, or will starting that next chapter affect the outcome of your case?
“No-Fault” Divorce and Spousal Support
California is a “no-fault” divorce state. This means that the court does not concern itself with arguments over why the marriage failed. Instead, the courts recognize two official reasons for a divorce: the incurable insanity of one of the spouses, or irreconcilable differences between the spouses.
Though you are getting a divorce, a new relationship would be considered an extramarital affair until your divorce is final. Under a no-fault system, though, adultery is not a consideration for the court when it decides to grant a divorce. The court has some discretion on awarding spousal support, but the purpose of it is not to punish a spouse for his or her wrongdoing. So, from the court’s view, dating another person while you are still married has no effect on spousal support.
Dating and Child Custody
Custody battles are often about how you conduct yourself around your child. While the court will not penalize you for dating someone new when it determines spousal support payments, a new dating relationship could have an effect on whether you are awarded custody of your child. The court’s job is to award custody based on the best interest of the child, and that can be impacted by your new dating life in many ways.
For example, if your new dating life is interfering with your ability to be involved in your child’s life, the court may think your child is better off with in the custody of your spouse. If your child constantly witnesses you and your girlfriend or boyfriend speaking with hostility toward your child’s other parent, the court may see that as an unhealthy atmosphere for the child.
The court will look at your current relationships to determine whether you are a good judge of the character of the people you bring around your home. If your new love has a criminal record in his or her past, the relationship could reflect negatively on your argument for custody.
Talk It Over
Starting a new relationship while you are ending your marriage can be a welcome relief and bring happiness to a stressful time in your life. However, you should be prepared for the effect it could have on your family law case.
If you are in this situation, not only is it a good idea to talk it over with your new partner, but is also a good idea to discuss it with your family law attorney to determine what the potential impact could be. While it might be difficult, it could be in your best interest to hold of on dating until your divorce is final.
Call the Family Law Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled and knowledgeable attorneys have over 35 years of experience helping clients in divorce and family law cases. We can advise you on any number of issues that could affect the outcome of your divorce, and we will always keep your best interest in mind. If you choose Wallin & Klarich to guide you through the family law courts, you can trust that your case is in very capable hands.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, an experienced Wallin & Klarich family law attorney is available nearby no matter where you are located.
For a free phone consultation, call (888) 749-7428 today. We will be there when you call.