When a divorced parent starts dating, a child may have conflicting feelings. The child may not be ready for his/her parent to have a new person in his/her life. The child may find it difficult to spend time with the new "significant other," without feeling disloyal to the non-dating parent. Regardless of the relationship between the parent and child, there is often a sense of loyalty or allegiance toward each of the parents. Keeping this in mind, here are some dating tips for divorced parents.
- Don't date until you're ready. Divorce can leave you feeling vulnerable, and you may need time to re-adjust to living on your own (with or without your children). If you start dating too soon after a divorce, your ability to exercise good judgment may be compromised by your need to be in a relationship. Take the time that you need to adequately heal before bringing a romantic partner into your life, especially if you have children.
- Start slow. Go out with a group of friends, co-workers, or acquaintances. Give yourself permission to meet new people without having an agenda. Not everyone you meet will be a potential date so focus on growing friendships and having fun.
- Start small. Look for opportunities to get together that don't require lots of money or time. Getting a cup of coffee or going out for lunch are casual date options. To ensure that your date does not exceed a certain amount of time, make an appointment that you cannot break.
- Be truthful. When meeting someone new, be honest about your marital status. If you are newly divorced and this is your first date, say so. Tell him/her if you have children, whether you have custody of them or not.
- Listen. Make sure that you listen closely. If red flags or deal breakers arise, you may need to walk away.
- Hold-off on the introductions. Do not introduce your child to a date until you are in a stable relationship. If you decide to date before your divorce is final, do not introduce your child. Be sure that the relationship is going somewhere before you make your child part of the equation.
- Exercise good judgment. Children have a number of school, sports, and social events throughout the year. Some parents believe it is appropriate to bring a date to these events. The presence of a date, in addition to causing distress for the child, often causes anger and distress for the other parent, who also may be in attendance. Your daughter's ballet recital may not be the best place to bring a date.
Dating can also have other consequences. If there is alimony pursuant to an agreement, which terminates on cohabitation, dating can lead to an allegation of cohabitation. Factors that affect that decision are:
- occupancy of the same residence;
- location of mail receipt;
- combined finances;
- utilizing the same address;
- cars in the driveway overnight;
- holding yourselves out as married; or
- living together.
When alimony is subject to termination and/or modification, dating and the interpretation of the nature of the relationship can have a huge impact on the future of the alimony.
Before deciding to date, you should carefully weigh the consequences and your level of readiness. Dating after divorce should be done responsibly, with serious consideration given to the impact on your child.
If you are considering divorce and need the assistance of an experienced lawyer to help you work through some of these issues, then please contact Linda Sorg Ostovitz at email@example.com or 301-575-0381.
ABOUT LINDA SORG OSTOVITZ
Linda Sorg Ostovitz is a family law attorney. Her legal experience spans more than 34 years. In this time, she has served as a leader, educator and advocate. Mrs. Ostovitz holds a prestigious fellowship in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Currently, she serves as President for the Business Women’s Network of Howard County, by which she was chosen Woman of Distinction for 2014. Mrs. Ostovitz represents clients in Howard, Anne Arundel, Carroll and Baltimore Counties. Her practice focuses exclusively on divorce litigation and mediation, child custody and access, child support, alimony, business valuation, as well as property and asset distribution. In addition to providing legal representation in court, Mrs. Ostovitz provides mediation services to help families come to a fair and legally-sound conclusion outside of the traditional court proceedings.
ABOUT OFFIT KURMAN
Offit Kurman is one of the fastest-growing, full-service law firms in the Mid-Atlantic region. With over 135 attorneys offering a comprehensive range of services in virtually every legal category, the firm is well positioned to meet the needs of dynamic businesses and the people who own and operate them. Our eleven offices serve individual and corporate clients in the Virginia, Washington, DC, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York City. At Offit Kurman, we are our clients’ most trusted legal advisors, professionals who help maximize and protect business value and personal wealth. In every interaction, we consistently maintain our clients’ confidence by remaining focused on furthering their objectives and achieving their goals in an efficient manner. Trust, knowledge, confidence—in a partner, that’s perfect.
You can connect with Offit Kurman via our Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn pages. You can also sign up to receive Law Matters, Offit Kurman’s monthly newsletter covering a diverse selection of legal and corporate thought leadership content.
MARYLAND | PENNSYLVANIA | VIRGINIA| NEW JERSEY | NEW YORK | DELAWARE | WASHINGTON, DC