We are often asked “What if my former spouse is dating during the divorce in San Diego?” The opposite question is often “Is it ok to date during the divorce?” Will dating have any affect on child custody and parenting time, spousal support or the divorce itself?
Here in California, the Court presumes the cause of your divorce is irreconcilable differences. The Judge will not be interested in the lurid details of who did what unless they have a specific bearing upon an issue at hand. Generally speaking, if your former spouse is dating during the divorce it won’t in and of itself impact the proceedings.
However, there are potential impacts to watch for.
The first is in the area of community property division. If your former spouse is dating during the divorce using their “separate” funds to do so the Court will not be interested. If community funds are used to shower gifts upon a new love interest the Court will take this into account. For example, perhaps the open dating now is the result of an affair during the marriage. Any expense from marital funds or assets which can be proven to be associated with an external affair during the marriage or the divorce can impact community property division. In these instances the Court will order half of such expenditures to be reimbursed during the process of property division.
If the new relationship impacts the best interests of the children it might affect child custody and parenting time. This would require specific evidence regarding issues such as neglect or lewd behavior while the children were present. If you are concerned about any of these issues you should discuss them with one of our Certified Family Law Specialists.
If your former spouse is dating during the divorce you will need to prepare a strategy, some ground rules and a process to manage your own emotions. Heated voice mails, texts and emails have been used as evidence in San Diego and North County Family Courts to question the emotional fitness of a co-parent. Your own words and actions could actually cause more harm than the dating behavior of your former spouse.