September 20, 2013

Will your children suffer if you cohabit with a partner?

Divorce is difficult on all parties involved, but especially on children. Kids are usually very confused, angry and hurt. Their emotions are raging and they can often feel as though they may have caused the divorce. Once the divorce is over, these emotions don’t simply go away. You, as a divorced parent, may find it a little easier to move on. At some point, you will likely want to start dating again. What happens, though, when the relationship becomes a bit more serious? If you are considering cohabitation with your partner and you have children, here are some things to consider.

First, you must consider that many studies have shown that those who cohabit and then marry have a high risk of divorce. This means that your children could have a higher chance of being subjected to another divorce and more loss in their lives.

Your children might have become very close to your partner. If he or she should suddenly disappear because the two of you call it quits, it can be another bombshell in the your children’s lives.

Over the last five decades, there has been a noticeable change in the number of couples who have decided to live together before getting married. Just two decades ago, about 50 percent of couples cohabited. Now that number is about 66 percent. One study has shown that couples who cohabit were less committed to each other than those who were married. While this is not to say that you and your partner cannot successfully – and happily – cohabit, it is worth considering the effects on your children if a split should occur.

There can also be changes in alimony or child custody orders in some cases when an ex decides to cohabit. If your male ex decides that you no longer need his support or feels that his children are in some sort of danger because of your partner, he could petition the court for a change in child custody or a modification of spousal support. These are other considerations you must take into account.

Source:, “Cohabitation With Children: What Are the Risks?” Terry Gaspard, Sep. 12, 2013