Joint Custody


My Wife and I are in the process of getting a divorce. She wants sole custody, but I rebutted and now we have recently decided on joint custody for our son. I have just met a young lady, and my ex has recently found out about it. She called me and told me that her attorney said that if I didn’t stop seeing this young lady and document that I have cut ties with her that I can risk not getting joint custody of my son. Is this true? Is this legal? Can her attorney really make such a request? This person I just met has nothing to do with my divorce or the custody of my son. I’m not really sure how the divorce law works in North Carolina, but is it that I can not see “anyone” until everything is finalized? I don’t care if she is seeing someone or not, I’m just ready to move on with my life and put this all behind me. How long does the joint custody process takes in NC?


Technically, you are still married. However, if you have a separation agreement stating you are free to see other people, there should be no problem. Since very few divorces go to Court, it’s usually what two people can agree upon. Lawyers like to tell you not to see anyone until the divorce is final, but that usually is in case it does go to Court. You need to go ahead and get the custody issue settled. You do not have to document anything instructed by your ex or her lawyer. Talk to your own lawyer and follow his or her advice. Normally, a girlfriend or boyfriend makes little difference where custody is concerned or where anything is concerned for that matter. Your ex could use this to “hold over your head”, but in the long run, it probably will not matter. I wouldn’t flaunt it, however. It may make the negotiations a little more difficult. Seems it already has.


No, this will not affect your ability to get joint custody. momsdaughter is right in that it is best that you resolve as much as you can in a separation agreement prior to your final court date…and you can get a 3rd party waiver (against your girlfriend getting sued) put in the separation agreement if the two of you can agree to it.

Having said that, given your STBXs hostility, I wouldn’t be hosting your lady friend overnight until the divorce is declared final or until you get such a waiver in a separation agreement. It opens your lady friend up to a Criminal Conversation lawsuit. Seeing each other is not against the law, but sleeping together while you are still technically married can cause problems.

I know you are ready to move on, but make sure you know the liabilities and CYA.


Relationships with other people rarely have a major effect on custody, unless the person you are seeing is a danger to the child.
As for dating, there is nothing illegal about it, however adultery (having sexual relations with the person you are dating) is still a crime in the state, though it has not actually been prosecuted in many years. The real danger in dating is that it can give your spouse fodder to fight. She may allege the relationship began before you separated, which can be a factor in alimony, or she may even try to sue the woman you are dating claiming that the woman is the reason your marriage fell apart. (alienation of affection).
I always advise my clients to play it safe, don’t date until you have a settlement on all issues.


This is similar to what happened with my husband and his ex…we met shortly after she left him. They had a working arrangment with joint custody, though he had the children the majority of the time until we met. His ex lost her mind when she found out he was seeing someone. It turned ugly…very ugly…the children were in the middle and she used them a great deal…there were threats on my life…there were several incidents of stalking…
She ended up threatening to take and move to the other end of the state, so he filed for custody. By the time that went to court…after the preliminary hearing, she decided her best bet was to settle on joint custody with equal time. As they had before they both spent 10K on attorneys.
All this because the guy she left him for broke up with her the same week he and I met and began dating…she didn’t want him, but didn’t want him to be happy either. I was not going to take her place in her house and raise her children…keep in mind that we had only begun to date.

Your dating someone has little to do with custody and is none of her business if you have an agreement. Try to do your best not to let it affect your child on your part.