Proposed bill prohibits dating while residing in marital property

When married couples decide to terminate their marriage, there is always a lot to consider, such as who will be the one to move out of the current residence. In many cases, one of the spouses will remain in the home during the divorce process, until the division of all marital property has been decided. It is not uncommon for individuals entering a new relationship before the divorce is finalized, unfortunately a recent bill that has been proposed in Massachusetts, may prohibit the couple from conducting their relationship while the marital home.

The proposed bill will affect proceedings in which a shared residence and/or children are involved. If passed, the bill would prevent the spouse living in the marital home from dating or engaging in a sexual relationship within the house until the divorce is finalized. All aspects of the divorce must be resolved — including property division, custody arrangements and alimony agreements.

The new bill was first presented last year, but has not been reviewed. An extension was granted for consideration in the state legislature until the end of June. If the bill passes and is signed into law, divorcing spouses would no longer be able to bring partners from a new relationship into the marital home until the divorce is finalized, including the determination of any issues regarding child custody or the finances between the parties. A divorce in Massachusetts is not deemed final until a minimum of 120 days from when it is granted. However, the bill does not assert the specific consequences for the parties if the law is violated without the court’s permission.

Despite his reservations regarding the bill, Senator Richard J. Ross filed the proposal on behalf of a constituent. It is noted that he does not support the bill. While divorce already increases tension between the parties while trying to negotiate the division of marital property, this bill could potentially further exacerbate the process for couples in Massachusetts. It remains to be seen if the legislature takes action concerning the proposed law.

Source: Opposing Views, “Mass. Bill Would Forbid Divorced Parent from Having Sex in Own Home“, Lina Batarags, March 24, 2014

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