Can I Have a New Partner Move in During a Divorce?
Some states require spouses to prove “fault” for the divorce, such as adultery, abandonment, or abuse. California is one of several states that have no-fault divorce laws. A couple may file for divorce simply because they do not want to be married to each other any longer.
As a result, judges are not interested in whether or not a spouse cheated during the marriage or during the divorce proceeding. Instead, the judge will apply community property laws and spousal support laws when deciding issues related to the divorce. The judge will also consider what is in a child’s best interest when deciding child custody and time-sharing issues.
It is not against the law to date or even to move your partner into your home during your divorce. However, that does not necessarily mean it’s a good idea. Moving your spouse into your home during a divorce could create numerous issues that might have a negative impact on your divorce proceeding.
Potential Problems Created by Moving Your New Partner Into Your Home Before You Are Legally Divorced
First, you must consider what is in the best interest of your children. The judge will carefully view your actions to determine if having a new partner in the home is in the best interest of your children. A judge may view this change as detrimental to a child who is dealing with the separation of his parents.
In most cases, it is best to wait until your children are comfortable with the new living arrangements. Having a parenting plan and a custody order makes living with a new partner less risky.
On the other hand, if your children know your new partner, and your current spouse does not have a problem with the living arrangements, a judge may not have a problem either.
Keep these things in mind before making any final decisions about living with your new partner before your divorce is final:
- Always talk to your divorce lawyer before moving in with a partner or moving a new partner in with you to discuss how that action could impact the aspects of your divorce.
- Do your children know and accept your new partner? If not, you might want to wait to make this move.
- Consider discussing the move with your spouse and obtaining an agreement that you both may see or live with other people. Having your spouse’s approval before moving a new person into the home could avoid issues in court.
- If you choose to date, do so discreetly. Do not flaunt your new partner in your spouse’s face or expose your children to the new partner immediately.
- Consider how moving a new partner into the home could impact your financial situation. For example, having another income in the household could impact the amount of support payments.
- Avoid spending money on your new partner. Using marital assets to pay for trips, dinners, or gifts for a new partner could negatively impact property division.
- Consider the ownership of your home. Does your spouse have legal rights to your home? If so, moving someone into the home during the divorce could upset your spouse, which may make the divorce process more difficult, time-consuming, and costly.
- Make sure that any new partners are open and honest with you about issues in their past. If there are allegations (even if unproven) of substance abuse, domestic violence, or criminal activity, the judge may decide that your children should be with their other parent.
You need to keep in mind that angering your spouse during your divorce could backfire on you. Even if your spouse says they are okay with another person living with you during the divorce, there is a chance your spouse is lying to you. You might find out too late that your spouse intends to use your new partner or arrangement against you during a custody battle.
There is a reason you are seeking a divorce. If your spouse is a jealous or vindictive person, moving a new partner into your home during the divorce might be the worst thing you could do. Always talk to an experienced Los Angeles divorce lawyer before making significant changes to your living arrangements, finances, or lifestyle during a divorce.
Talking with your lawyer allows you to explore all potential consequences of a decision. While it might be difficult to wait until the divorce is final to move on with your life, it might be the best decision for you and your children.