When a judge is deciding on custody issues in North Carolina, the standard he or she must consider is always the “best interests of the child.” It is no different when it comes to the sex lives of the child’s separated parents – the question is whether the parents’ sexual relationships are affecting the best interests of the child. So, sex during separation can certainly have an effect on custody if it impacts the child. This will depend on the circumstances of the relationship. If a parent, for example, engages in sex with numerous partners while the child is in the home, it would not be surprising for a judge to decide that the parent is not acting in the child’s best interests. Circumstances vary, but especially when your kids are involved, it is wise to err on the side of caution. During the separation period, the safest course is to keep any sexual activity confined to times when your child is staying at the other parent’s house. Being responsible and aware of what your children see is both good for your kids, and good for your custody case.
Discovery & Court Testimony
Discovery is the process of both sides gathering information before a court proceeding. This is done through interrogatories, which are written questions that require written answers, and depositions, which are out of court testimony under oath. Depositions usually take place at an attorney’s office, and a court reporter is present to make a transcript of the testimony. In family law cases, questions about the parties’ sexual relationships are common in both discovery and court proceedings. As we’ve seen during this discussion of sex during the separation period, sexual behavior can be relevant to multiple issues during divorce and custody proceedings. Opposing attorneys might also ask intimate questions to put you on the defensive. Thus, sexual and relationship questions are likely to arise during your case. As unfair and invasive as it may seem, your personal life is not necessarily private during a divorce, so you and your lawyer must be prepared to face questions about your behavior, possibly from both a judge and the opposing party.
Bottom Line: Should I, or Shouldn’t I?
So, over the course of three posts, we’ve addressed a number of issues that can arise from having a sexual relationship while you are separated from your spouse. Divorce is complicated – emotionally, financially, and legally. Be honest and realistic with yourself about this issue: sex will most likely make your divorce process even more complicated. Understand and consider the consequences that can follow from your decision. Emotions run high during divorce, and moving on too quickly can make it more difficult to resolve the issues that you and your spouse face. Your best bet is to focus your energy on getting through the separation and resolving the remaining issues of your marriage; save the dating and sex for after the divorce.