Dating, After Filing For Divorce: Richard D. Mere Attorney At Law
A friend has asked me about dating, after filing for divorce. Before I begin, I need to make clear that this is not a moral judgment, or a statement of what is morally, religiously, or ethically right or wrong, but simply the legal ramifications of a decision to date, after filing for divorce.
“Dating,” or romantic involvement with someone other than the spouse you are separate from, prior to filing for divorce, is adultery, under the law. The important date, in making this distinction is the date of filing. Louisiana Civil Code Article 111 states, “…the court…may award final periodic support to a party who is in need of support and who is free from fault prior to the filing of a proceeding to terminate the marriage…” The important time, in a legal context, to be free from fault (adultery) is prior to filing for divorce. However, from a technical point of view, the parties are still married until the final decree of divorce is granted. Therefore, any sexual relations prior to that decree is technically adultery, even though it has no significant legal consequences.
Additionally “living together,” which is legally called open concubinage, terminates final periodic support and is generally forbidden by many joint custody implimentation plans. Therefore, “living together” can have significant consequences for child custody and spousal support.
The other consideration is the actual dating partner. This can have a significant impact on child custody issues. Has the dating parent thoroughly investigated the dating partner prior to introducing this person to the children? I have seen negativie consequences from introducing the children to someone who is not serious about becoming part of the children’s lives, and the children are damaged by their expectations that this new person will stick around. I have also seen parents lose custody because they did not investigate the dating partner, and the person had a serious record for felonies directed to juveniles, or investigations by child protective agencies.
Just because a person appears to be safe, doesn’t mean they are safe. There are plenty of online resources to investigate potential dating partners prior to introducing them to the children. If the child sexual predator looked like a predator, they would never get access to children. Be careful, and use the resources available to investigate prior to introducing the children.