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3 concerns about dating after divorce when sharing custody

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2024 | Child Custody & Support |

There are many stages of rebuilding during and after a divorce. Divorcing spouses often need to spend some time healing themselves and learning to live independently again. There can also be an adjustment period when there are children involved. Acclimating to custody exchanges and sole responsibility for the children can be a challenge initially. Many parents eventually find that they settle into a new routine with their children in a co-parenting arrangement.

As life starts to become normal again, divorced parents may start thinking about the need for companionship. Deciding to date again after marriage and divorce is an act of bravery and vulnerability. It can be very challenging, especially when there are still young children in the family. What concerns do parents need to address as they wade back out into the realm of romance?

Finding time for dating

One of the first issues that people have to address is how shared custody can put a bit of pressure on their schedules. Typically, co-parents are not particularly receptive to custody rescheduling requests related to new romantic connections. Therefore, people need to plan their dates for when they don’t have their children or find acceptable child care services. The more parenting time someone has and the younger their children are, the more difficult it may be to coordinate meetups with potential new partners.

Healing from divorce trauma

Feeling lonely or desiring companionship could be what prompts someone to install a dating app or attend social gatherings. However, but just because someone feels ready to mingle is not necessarily mean they are ready for a healthy committed relationship. Even amicable divorces can cause a degree of trauma. People may need to spend some time working on their issues or attending therapy so that their next relationship is a healthy one.

Implementing rules for the protection of children

Eventually, both parents may start developing new romantic relationships. That can be reason for concern, as romantic partners can abuse or mistreat children. The excitement of the new relationship might also lead to someone neglecting their parental responsibilities. As such, co-parents may need to have certain rules in place about the timeline for introducing the children to new romantic partners that apply to both parents. Implementing a rule that a new romantic partner cannot provide childcare is a common practice. While a new romantic partner may eventually fill an important role in the lives of the children, minimizing the disruptions and abandonment they experience when parents date should be a priority.

It can be very difficult to address the practicalities of new relationships while actively dating. Parents may want to add rules about new partners to their parenting plans during their initial custody negotiations. Identifying issues that can complicate co-parenting arrangements may help people plan for the likely challenges ahead.

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