While adultery does not play a punitive role in modern day divorce proceedings in New Jersey, it is not to say that dating before your divorce is final is without complication. Certainly, if either party in a divorce is dating and using marital assets for the furtherance of a new relationship, this is a matter that requires your attorney to explore and pursue on your behalf. If this is not an issue in your case, there are still a few other things to be considered.
First, and probably most importantly, if you have children, proceed very carefully into any new relationship. This is especially true if custody issues are contentious in your divorce case or if you are in an all out battle. While it may seem like common sense, it bears saying that anyone that you would consider bringing around your children should be an upstanding citizen of the community and pose no danger to your child. It is critical to have an honest conversation with your attorney about what is in your children’s best interest when considering living with a new boyfriend or girlfriend prior to the end of your divorce action.
Another ramification of dating during divorce proceedings is the resentment and ill-will that bringing a third-party into the mix can breed against you from your soon to be ex-spouse. This can make the divorce proceedings more difficult and drama-filled. We highly recommend, as well, that our clients refrain from using social media to broadcast new relationships as posts made in the heat of the moment can inflame litigation or be used as fodder when custody is in dispute.
Cohabitation can also have an impact on any alimony payments that you may be due. We have seen several clients who have waived off on alimony in order to pursue a new love interest only to then months later have broken off the new relationship and be without much needed financial support. Divorce in and of itself is an extremely emotionally challenging time. Great care must be exercised when making decisions such as cohabitation during divorce litigation.
The best advice in this situation is to discuss these issues openly and honestly with your attorney. Only by making sure your attorney has full knowledge of your situation can your attorney help you determine what impact dating or cohabitating can have on your unique situation.