What impact could my dating have on child custody?

Your spouse’s discovery of your interest in another woman or man (as the case may be) could unravel a settlement as to custody. The sudden or unexpected “insertion” of another “parent” figure in your child’s life is often experienced as a threatening disruption by the child’s other biological parent (or your spouse’s own parents); and many spouses react to such a threat by insisting that the child be totally insulated from a new girl- or boyfriend.

While this insistence may be highly unrealistic, its frequent result is to upset a couple’s custody plans. Whether your custody plans were once agreed on, or are now coming apart because of a new dating partner, or whether there never were any agreed on plans, your spouse could try to use the presence of a new person in your life as a “weapon” against your gaining custody of your child or against your continuing to have custody.

You need to know that appellate cases in North Carolina have overwhelmingly rejected this sort of attack, based on the particular facts of those cases. But if your spouse could show that your dating – even unaccompanied by sexual intercourse — had led to distraction or great preoccupation with your love life, and consequent neglect or inattention to your child, your position in a custody dispute could be greatly weakened.


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