Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Divorce - living with someone not your spouse?

What kind repercussions are there living with someone prior to the Final Hearing? That question depends on the facts and there is no one answer. The following list covers some situations that I am aware of, they are in no particular order, and really are more about pointing out concerns than answers.

  1. New significant other does not get along with children - not a good thing if you want custody of the children and may cause trouble with parenting time.
  2. New significant other gets along with children - not a guarantee that you will get custody of the children.
  3. New significant other has any variety of anti-social tendencies or convictions for serious felonies (child molesting, drug dealing, arson, murder come to mind fitting into my definition of serious felonies) - I would counsel you to drop the significant other and probably withdraw if you insisted on seeking custody of children.
  4. Significant other gets along with children and soon to be former spouse - a very good situation for all and not an everyday occurrence.
A significant other does not really have any great importance unless children are part of the case. In my mind, the significant other poses two questions. The first question revolves around the significant other's character while the spouse's judgment is the second question. If the significant other possesses character traits that are not good for the children, then the significant other should not be around the children. That the spouse puts such a person and their own interests ahead of their children's best interests, the court will surely question the spouse's judgment and ability to act as a good parent for the children.

Now let me clarify three points, this discussion so far has only been about living with another person before the divorce is final. Here are the three points:
  1. The same ideas apply when living with someone after the divorce is final.
  2. Dating is not the same as living with someone else. Adultery has no practical value in whether a divorce will be final, therefore dating may not cause the same problems as living with someone.
  3. Discretion is a word to learn and live by. The problems created by dating or living with someone else may not develop if you use discretion and common sense.

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