Why Not Date During Divorce?



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"Dating During Divorce Isn't Wise"

By Judge Anne Kass

A few weeks ago the classified personals contained an ad that read,

"Male 53, unhappily married, divorce pending, seeks slim, unattached female, 40-55, for long-term, caring relationship. Call..."

It made me think of the hundreds of cases I've seen in divorce court in which one of the spouses became intimately involved with someone new before the divorce was final. Those cases were horribly acrimonious and expensive because there is very little that can turn a divorce case into a thermonuclear war quite like the involvement of one spouse with a new companion.

New Mexico has had no-fault divorce since 1933, so the courts are not much interested in who is the good-spouse or the bad-spouse. That won't make any difference in how property is divided, and it won't change other aspects of the financial divorce.

However, these new relationships may be relevant to custody and visitation decisions. One thing is for sure, if a parent becomes involved with someone new, the children should not be involved in that new relationship. If they do involved the children, they should expect to hear about it in court. The court's concern will be about emotional damage to the children, not the parent's morality.

Psychological and sociological data tell us that an intimate relationship which starts before a divorce is finalized has very little chance of long-term survival. The new companion may be serving primarily as a distraction, a way to avoid feeling the pain that divorce causes.

When the new relationship dissolves, as it almost certainly will, the children experience another loss, if they've been made a port of that relationship. Children who suffer a series of losses can end up with a sense that it is not safe to develop close friendships. That can impact all of their friendships as well as their won future attitudes about marriage. Mistrust, isolation and loneliness are high prices for children to pay for their parents' bad judgment.

People in the throes of a divorce are wise to avoid any intimate relationships until well after the divorce is final. They can save themselves a lot of aggravation and legal fees, if nothing else. But whatever the grown-ups do to themselves, they should absolutely avoid introducing any new companions to their children until the divorce is over and until there is a solid foundation for the new relationship with some reasonable degree of probability that it will last.


Included through specific permission of The Honorable Anne Kass, former District Judge, Division XVII, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Posted to divorcePeers.com on December 9, 2002.

Credential highlights: Graduated University of New Mexico with Honors (1974; major: Communications, Minor: Journalism) graduated University of New Mexico School of Law, Magna Cum Laude (1977); sole-practitioner, domestic relations law (1977-1985); First Chair, New Mexico State Bar Family Law Section (1983); Presiding Judge of Domestic Relations Division, New Mexico Second Judicial District Court (1985-200x); certified in Conflict Resolution Theory and Practice, Colorado Dispute Resolution Associates (1987).


► List of all Divorce Peers resources: Dating

"No" (How to Say It)
Daters' Bill of Rights - Boundaries after Divorce
Divorce Court - Analysis of "Best Interests of the Minor Child," factor (F)
Divorce Statistics - "Connected" to Your Former Spouse?
Divorce Statistics - Arguments
Divorce Statistics - By What Criteria Do We Choose Partners?
Divorce Statistics - Caring, Concern, Compassion in Relationships
Divorce Statistics - Children and Divorce, Effects of Divorce on Child
Divorce Statistics - Equity in Marital Chores
Divorce Statistics - How Do Child Custody Placements End Up?
Divorce Statistics - How Ethical Is Your Partner?
Divorce Statistics - Infidelity, Adultery, Cheating, Affairs, ...
Divorce Statistics - Life Balance and Priorities
Divorce statistics - Median Ages for Marriages, Divorces
Divorce Statistics - Religion and Divorce
Divorce Statistics - Sex, among Students, High School, College
Divorce Statistics - Sex, Casual, "No Strings"
Divorce Statistics - Sexually Transmitted Disease (STDs, AIDS)
Divorce Statistics - What if You Just "Think" about Divorce?
Divorce Statistics - Why Did You Get Divorced?
Personality tests: Jung-Myers-Briggs
Relationship tests
Safety - Minimize the risk of rape
Safety - Personal Safety in Divorce
Safety - Rape Prevention
Safety - Rape: The facts of life
Safety - Rape: What if...?
Why Not Date During Divorce?
Why Wait to Date after divorce?


► List of all Post-Divorce Relationships resources

Active Listening -- Tips
Apologize and make amends
Asking Questions
Camps for Kids
Care taking and rescuers
Child Health
Children and "Friendly Divorce"
Daters' Bill of Rights - Boundaries after Divorce
Divorce Risks: Children
Evaluating Child Care
Explaining Your Divorce to Your Children
Four Basic Elements of Successful After-Divorce Relationships
Listening Habits
Listening Problems
Marital Attachment - "Unhooking" after Divorce
Not Divorcing - for the Sake of the Children
Parenting Classes
Parenting Time Coordination via Internet-Based Scheduler
Personality tests: Jung-Myers-Briggs
Photo Albums On-Line
Reasons to Listen Better
Relationship tests
Step Couples - 10 Steps for Success in Remarriage after Divorce
Step families - 10 Steps for Successful Step-Grandparenting
Step families - 10 Steps for Successful Stepfamilies, Stepchild Parenting
Stepparents - So You Want to be a Stepmother?
The Waitress Test
Why Not Date During Divorce?
Why Wait to Date after divorce?


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