Dating, Divorce, And Children
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your marriage, your breakup, and your upcoming divorce, you likely fall into one of two categories when it comes to your thoughts on dating. In the first category are those people who are content to be alone for the moment, either to enjoy single life or to allow time to lick their emotional wounds. The second is those who may have felt lonely and isolated enough during the final days of their marriage, and they are eager to dip their toes into the dating pool. Dating during a divorce in Florida requires some careful considerations, and it becomes even more complicated when there are children involved.
Dating Before Your Divorce Is Final
If you have already filed and been granted a decree of divorce, there is nothing to stop you from dating or beginning a relationship with a new partner. If you are newly separated and have filed for a divorce that has not yet been granted, there are definite legal considerations you need to be aware of, particularly when it comes to children.
Dating while a divorce is ongoing is never a good idea, as creates complications in an already potentially volatile situation. Technically speaking, you are committing adultery, and while this is no longer grounds for divorce in Florida, it could affect matters pertaining to property division and alimony. In terms of parenting and time sharing plans concerning children, it could definitely work against you when you go to court.
Under Section 61.13 of the Florida Statutes, the court is in favor of having both parents equally involved in their child’s life, but there are factors the judge in your case will consider in making a ruling. These include:
- Your previous and current relationship with your child;
- Your proven ability to provide for your child’s physical, emotional, and developmental needs;
- The amount of time you have devoted to your child in the past;
- The type of environment the child will be exposed to in your home.
Dating requires dedication of your time and attention, the same as parenting. Depending on your child’s reaction to the overall situation and any animosity between you and your soon to be ex spouse, the fact that you are dating during your divorce could reflect negatively in time sharing proceedings.
Dating and Your Child
Whether you have already begun dating or anticipate doing so once your divorce is finalized, there are ways in which you can help your child better adjust and deal with a new relationship. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following tips:
- Limit who you introduce your child too. There is no need for them to meet everyone you date.
- Discuss your child’s emotions. Let them know you are dating or have met someone and give them an opportunity to express how they feel about it.
- Take it slow. Do not be dismayed if your child needs additional time to adjust to the fact that you and their other parent are no longer together.
- Be realistic. Once you do introduce your child to a new partner, keep your expectations reasonable.
If you have additional questions or concerns about dating and divorce or how it applies to your situation, contact Hancock & Associates, P.C. in Orlando today.