How Does Living together Affect Custody of Children from a Prior Marriage?

In our modern society, the nuclear family is becoming less of the norm with every passing year. According to the Institute for American Values, there were 12 times as many cohabiting couples with children in the 2010s as there were in the 1970s. With the popularity of this living situation also comes apprehension of what it means for relationships and custody situations.

The term “cohabitation” generally refers to an unmarried couple in a romantic relationship who live together. While this lifestyle has become increasingly popular in the past several decades, individuals interested in this living arrangement should be aware of the potential implications of cohabitation for their child custody arrangements. A seasoned divorce lawyer can explain how cohabitation can affect custody of children from a prior marriage.

Impact of Cohabitation on Child Custody

Oftentimes, divorced couples are able to settle custody disputes outside of court. If the agreement is reasonable and does not cause harm to the child involved, the court will likely approve the arrangement, even with the condition of one party cohabiting with a new partner.

The court’s goal is to conclude which environment would give the best opportunities at life for the child and is best suited to the child’s interests. Consequently, judges usually aim to keep families together and will not deny custody to a parent solely under the condition of cohabitation with a new partner.

Conversely, custody is not always assigned to the two-person household over a single-person household. The factors that go into a custody determination will vary according to each family’s situation, which is why it is always important to have a skilled lawyer to assist in legal disputes involving cohabitation and children from a prior marriage.

Factors to Consider in Cohabitation

If an individual and their ex-spouse are unable to settle their custody dispute on their own, the case may be brought before a judge. In court, the party who wishes to cohabitate with either child’s parent will be subjected to thorough examination.

The court may ask questions regarding the person’s criminal history, financial situation, and other factors that could threaten the well-being of the child from a previous marriage. The other parent can also raise their own concerns about the partner or the living situation, including any doubt about their child’s care.

Other factors that can be considered when a parent living with a new person wants custody of their child from a prior marriage  include:

  • The length of the relationship between the cohabitating parent and their partner
  • The character of the partner
  • The relationship between the partner and the child
  • The number of children that will be in the relationship
  • The partner’s criminal background, if any

An experienced attorney can assist a parent seeking to work cohabitation into their custody arrangement in gathering the proper evidence to present to a judge.

Reach out to a Skilled Divorce Attorney Today

Cohabitation may be one of the natural steps in your life after divorce. However, the choices you make regarding cohabitation can have long-term effects on your children.

If you are planning to cohabitate with someone and are unsure about how it will affect your custody arrangement, reach out to a seasoned attorney today. The legal professionals at Moskowitz Law Group are experienced in cohabitation and custody disputes and can work with you to ensure that you and your children receive the best possible outcome. Call today to learn more about what our skilled legal team can do for you.

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