Dating After Your Divorce When You Have Kids

With over half of people saying that they will consider dating within the first year after their divorce, many people reach this decision quite quickly. After your negotiations have settled in your divorce and all serious decisions have been made regarding spousal support, the equitable distribution of property, and child visitation schedules, you may find yourself in a position to actually consider reentering the dating scene. However, if you have children, you may want to carefully rethink how you want to begin the process of dating again. There are special considerations to take into account as you begin dating. If your ex sees you handling situations inappropriately, he or she may have a legitimate legal reason to file for a child custody modification. Consider the following advice as you begin your new wife after your divorce and consider dating again.

Children Should Always be Your Priority

As a divorced parent, you have special considerations regarding dating after your divorce. Your first stop before you begin dating again should be to have a serious conversation with your children that includes the fact that you will be dating again. This is important because it shows your children that you are being honest with them. Additionally, you should highlight and stress that your children will be your first priority under all circumstances. Understandably, many children feel stressed or anxious if their parents decide to leave the home for periods of time and date other people. One way you can explain this to small children is that they have friends that they visit with, and that you would like to have friends to visit with, as well. If your child develops anxieties or acts out as a result of you dating, you could consider taking them to a family counselor to help them navigate and work through their emotions.

Carefully Consider Introductions to New Significant Others

You should take time to seriously consider whether or not you want to introduce any new significant other or person that you are dating to your children. If you consistently bring new people around your children, your ex-spouse may have legitimate grounds to request a child custody modification order based on the fact that your home is unstable or disruptive to the children. While you absolutely have a right to date, some possible outcomes related to this decision may potentially cause actionable concerns on the part of your former spouse. For example, if you begin leaving your children home for long periods of time in order to go on dates, your ex-spouse may also say that you are abandoning your children and request that they have additional visitation and custody time.

Additionally, you may want to seriously consider whether or not you have any of your dates or significant others spend the night at your home while your children are present. Again, if you have different people spending the night at your home while your children are there, your ex-spouse may have a legitimate reason to request a child custody modification order.

Take Time to Seriously Listen to Your Children

Your children may feel helpless and vulnerable as you begin entering the dating scene. While you have every right to move on with your life and find companionship, your children may still struggle with the fact that you are divorced and their parents are no longer together. In some cases, children act out in anger through manipulative tactics. While you should always attempt to dissuade and limit this behavior, if you feel your children are increasingly becoming more agitated, frustrated, anxious, and cannot appropriately handle your divorce, you may want to consider visiting with a family therapist to help all of you navigate your new life together.

Be Careful With Discipline

While you should always make sure that your children stay within the boundaries that you have established, you should take careful consideration as to whether a new person you are dating or a significant other makes decisions regarding discipline of your children. Depending on the facts and circumstances, your ex-spouse may find this behavior as grounds for a child custody modification order.

Visit With an Experienced Family Law Attorney

If you are recently divorced and entering the dating scene, consider a consult regarding best practices with an experienced divorce lawyer at Arnold & Smith, PLLC at 704.370.2828. We can help you understand your legal rights and how to ensure you keep your custody arrangements the way they currently are or modify them to your benefit. Contact us by phone or online today for a consultation via phone, video conference or at one of our three conveniently located offices in Uptown Charlotte, Monroe and Mooresville.