Once you accept that your marriage has ended, you may be eager to start dating new people. But should you do so while your divorce is pending, especially if you are a parent?
If your divorce has not been finalized
Dating while you are still in the divorce process can cause your child significant distress, and it could damage your chances for being awarded custody.
This is because the judge will make custody decisions based on the child’s best interests. Some of these interests include:
- The emotional connection between you and your child
- Your ability to care for your child
- Your child’s connection to their school, home and community
If you date before your divorce is finalized, the judge may determine that this shows a lack of connection between you and your child.
If you date before your divorce is finalized, the judge may determine that you are too involved in your personal life to care for your child.
Finally, if you plan on moving in with your new partner before your divorce is finalized, the judge may determine that this damages your child’s connection to their school, home and community.
Simply put, dating while your divorce is pending can harm your child and your chances for custody.
If your divorce is finalized
Even if your divorce is finalized, this does not mean immediately jumping back into the dating pool is in your child’s best interests.
First, you may have processed the fact that your marriage has ended. You have moved on, allowing you to comfortably date other people.
However, this does not mean your child has processed the divorce. The idea of you dating can make them very uncomfortable, upset and confused.
Second, if your new relationship becomes serious and your partner moves in with you, your child needs to adjust to having a step-person and possibly new brothers and sisters living with them.
This means the child will have to deal with new routines, new parenting styles and possibly even a new home. For a child who is still adjusting to their parents’ divorce, these changes may be more than they can handle.
You may be ready to date once your marriage has ended, but this does not mean your child is ready for this new development in your life. You must consider your child’s best interests and prioritize their needs before acting on your desire to see new people.