Dating During & After Divorce


Dating During & After Divorce

A common concern that people have when they are going through a divorce is when they can begin dating and what affect a new relationship may have on their divorce.  The impact varies from case to case; some couples immediately begin new relationships with no issues, while others face serious resistance from their spouse.

Restrictions on Custody and Parenting time

One of the most common issues that comes up when a spouse begins a new relationship during a divorce is the other person’s desire to keep the new significant other away from the parties’ children. While this is an issue that comes up with some regularity in divorce proceedings, the courts have not addressed it as frequently as you would think.

In 1976 the Appellate Division handled the issue in DeVita v. DeVita.  In that case, the court decided the trial court judge did not overstep when he ruled that the children should not be in the presence of a significant other.  This did not create a rule that it was appropriate for the trial court to get involved in these disputes every time.  It also did not mean that children could not be around a parent’s significant other.   It simply said that in that particular set of circumstances, it was not inappropriate for the court to intervene.

In a 2015 Ocean County trial decision, Judge Jones addressed the issue again.  In the Mantle case, Judge Jones outlined 6 questions that he believed should be considered when faced with this issue.  Judge Jones’ decision is not binding on other courts, but did provide some guidance on how to approach this type of situation.

When there is no concern about abuse/neglect or addiction issues, it is unlikely that the court would prevent a party from having their significant other present during his or her parenting time.  However, it is always important to keep in mind that adding a new person to an already stressful divorce may be an additional source of friction.  One way to avoid it becoming an issue is to agree with your spouse that a new boyfriend or girlfriend will not be introduced to the children for a set period of time; for example, no introductions will take place until the parent has been dating the person for at least 6 months.  If you are concerned about this issue in your case, you may want to speak to your attorney about including a similar provision in your ultimate settlement.

Alimony: When does dating become cohabitation?

Perhaps a larger concern with regard to dating is its impact on alimony.    When the alimony statute was amended in September 2014, it clarified the law on cohabitation.  N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23n states, “Cohabitation is defined as a mutually supportive, intimate personal relationship in which a couple has undertaken duties and privileges which are commonly associated with marriage/civil union but does not necessarily maintain a single common household.”

Clearly, under the revised statute, dating couples do not have to formally live together in order for a judge to say they are cohabiting.  The court looks to other factors, such as intertwined finances, the sharing of household chores, and an outsider’s view of the relationship as a whole.  This includes proof that your ex-spouse provides to the court.  It has become very common to see people’s social media posts used against them in court.  Photos of a fancy vacation or new purchases with your boyfriend or girlfriend may be enough for a judge to decide to review your need for alimony.  This could have a very significant impact on your ability to continue to maintain your lifestyle.

If you are concerned about how dating may affect your divorce, or your life after the divorce is final, contact DeTorres & DeGeorge at (908) 284-6005 or (973) 264-4100 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.

Divorce Recovery Guide
About DeTorres and DeGeorge Family Law

DeTorres and DeGeorge Family Law is a New Jersey based family law firm that has been helping New Jersey residents achieve the best possible results in their divorce for nearly 30 years. The DeTorres and DeGeorge Family Law team is always ready to fight for their clients’ rights – determined to help New Jersey families overcome legal challenges from start to finish. Our legal team, with over 65 years of combined experience, provides expert guidance on all family law and divorce-related matters, including custody and parenting time, alimony and child support, equitable distribution of assets, premarital agreements, post-divorce issues, executive compensation distribution, divorces for business owners, and divorce mediation. The firm has been recognized for its dedication and expertise in the industry by multiple local and national organizations, including Super Lawyers, Law Firm 500, and the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys. Rosanne DeTorres, Managing Partner, is one of 150 lawyers certified as a matrimonial law attorney.

Rosanne S. DeTorres
Ms. DeTorres is the managing partner and co-founder of DeTorres & DeGeorge Family Law. She is also only one of 150 attorneys in the State of NJ that is certified by the NJ Supreme Court as a Matrimonial Law Attorney. Ms. DeTorres graduated...
Share on:

knowledge & insights

Man and woman sitting on a bed, both are upset

Are you unhappily married?

According to an article published in Healthline by Rebecca Strong, "Five consequences of an unhappy marriage and five tips to work toward change,” the potential consequences of staying in an unhappy marriage include a negative impact on your children, increased stress, increased conflict,...

December 3, 2023 Read More

Kids in sports uniforms standing in a huddle

Do I have to pay for extracurricular activities if I pay child support?

When people are navigating divorce or separation from their child’s other parent, a significant part of negotiating the new normal is addressing the financial expenses for the children. Child support is the main component of maintaining expenses for the children. But, child support may not always...

November 22, 2023 Read More

Woman on phone and looking at car damage

My husband took me off insurance before divorce: car insurance during separation.

In addition to dealing with so many emotional and financial issues during a pending divorce matter, there are also logistical issues that require everyone’s attention, such as navigating the maintenance of insurance. Specifically, car insurance during divorce or separation can be another...

November 16, 2023 Read More

Divorce: The Answers you Need – Before, During & After

Download our eBook today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

follow us