Have you seen a marriage story yet? I have to tell you, I watched it last night and it left me in tears. I probably see it WAY differently than so many others but what I saw was unfair the legal system is to GOOD men when going through a divorce. I’m sure others would paint a border picture of saying it’s about a couples struggle through a grueling coast to coast divorce that pushes them to their personal extremes. Which the film totally does but it got me thinking about YOU and how I can protect you from anything like this ever happening.
Sadly, I can’t fully protect from you from this pain but I did reach out to my friend and legal assistance who works for a top divorce lawyer for assistance. She had so much to say that I asked her to write a blog on it. Below is her advice 🙂
While this is a blog promoting dating and helping you become more date-worthy, we need to be responsible – a pending divorce is NOT the time to be revamping your look or approach and trying it out! Why? Read on for three important reasons to wait to date.
1. Divorce is Painful – Making Your Ex Angry Will Only Make it More Painful.
The smoothest and quickest divorces happen when couples can agree on the major issues, such as support, child custody, and property distribution, and work together to make sure everything is filed timely. In these cases, a divorce can conclude in as little as four months in most states.
This is called an “uncontested” divorce. Let’s say you start seeing someone… how do you think your ex is going to feel about that? And even if you think she might be okay with it, why take a chance on killing whatever spirit of cooperation exists between you two? A contested divorce can be drawn out for years. Think of the time and money you’ll save by exercising a little self control and discipline now. It’s only a matter of months.
Besides time and money, think also of the emotional toll a contested divorce will take, not just on you and your ex, but on your children. Also think of the potential for your ex’s resentment to spill over onto the children, damaging your relationship with them. There is too much at stake here. Wait to date.
2. Dating During Divorce Could Affect Your Child Custody Arrangement and the Amount of Support You Pay.
Okay, let’s say you’ve started seeing someone despite the advice above. Then comes the time to figure out who the kids live with, how much child support should be paid, and what sort of visitation or parenting time schedule is appropriate.
Your ex will likely not feel warm about your new girlfriend (and if this isn’t an understatement, what is?). If you are seeking to be the custodial parent, that opens the door to allegations, justified or not, that your home environment or lifestyle is unfit for the children due to whatever reason can be conjured from you dating someone, such as:
- “That woman is a floozy and a bad influence on my children”
- “He is always working or out with her, what kind of custodial parent can he be?”
- “They are bad role models for our kids because she is so young/takes drugs/uses alcohol/works as a stripper/whatever.”
- “His girlfriend does not like my kids, why should they live with him and be exposed to that?”
…and a host of other reasons which may have a basis in fact or in your angry ex’s imagination. Think about it.
If you are seeking parenting time with the kids, the same applies if your ex can make a case that your new girlfriend is unfit to be with your children. And, if your ex can show that you are spending money on your girlfriend that should be spent on child support instead, be prepared to take a big financial hit.
Last, while having a girlfriend while divorcing will affect your child custody arrangement and potentially the amount of child support you pay, it will also inevitably affect the quality of your new relationship – what woman wants to be dragged under the family court’s microscope by her new boyfriend? Be smart and wait to date.
3. Dating During Divorce Could Cost You Dearly, Both Financially and Emotionally.
To wrap up, here are some ways dating could take an emotional toll on you and others:
- Your new girlfriend could get impatient with the unnecessarily-drawn-out divorce;
- Your new girlfriend could get angry if your relationship becomes a factor in your divorce;
- You will assuredly be more stressed out if the divorce is contested – what kind of boyfriend or father can you be then?
- Your children will be stressed out too if you and your ex are fighting about child custody, child support, alimony or spousal support, and/or property distribution;
- Your relationship with your children will suffer;
- Your relationship with your ex will suffer – why should you care? She’s the mother of your children and always will be, and you two need to work together to parent them despite your divorce.
And here is the financial toll dating during divorce can and will take:
- You will pay much more in attorney and court fees in a drawn-out contested divorce
- Property division could take into account the money you spend on your new girlfriend
- Child custody could take into account the money you spend on your new girlfriend
- Alimony or spousal support could take into account the money you spend on your new girlfriend
- You will spend more trying to appease your new girlfriend because of the problems the divorce are causing in your relationship
Wait to date. You, your family, and your future girlfriend will be glad you did.
About the author:
Veronica Baxter is a legal assistant and blogger living and working in the great city of Philadelphia. She often works with busy Somerset County, NJ divorce lawyer Katherine Wagner, Esq.