In this article...
We examine whether dating during a divorce impacts the outcome of the divorce. We look at the emotions involved, parental responsibilities, and issues that dating during a divorce can cause in negotiating a settlement.
The question of whether or not you should date while going through a divorce commonly gets raised and is met with differing schools of thought. Some say you absolutely should not date while your divorce is pending, while others argue it’s unrealistic to put your life on hold for the length of a divorce (which, unfortunately, can take longer than many would expect). With this article, we will provide insight into whether or not dating during a divorce can affect the outcome.
Generally speaking, the actual act of dating while your divorce is pending will not affect the outcome of a divorce. While you are still legally married to another person, the court distinguishes between pre- and post-separation relationships. However, every divorce is different and dating can potentially have adverse effects throughout the divorce and the ultimate outcome. Let’s look at some instances where dating can make the divorce process difficult.
Emotions and Decision Making During Divorce
Divorces are emotional, no doubt about it. Even in uncontested divorces there can be hard feelings between spouses upon the ending of their relationship. If one spouse finds out the other is dating someone new, they could become angry or upset that their almost former spouse is moving on. This, in turn, may affect their decision making when it comes to terms of the divorce.
For example, areas in which the spouses previously agreed upon may now become points of challenge. The spouse and his or her attorney may now argue on aspects they believe are unfair, such as division of property. These arising changes could prolong the divorce process and lead to spending more on attorney fees.
Dating During Divorce and Parental Responsibilities
When children are involved in a divorce, the court scrutinizes your actions when it comes to the best interests of the children. If it comes to the understanding of the other spouse that you have a new boyfriend or girlfriend, they could use this to their advantage. This could be the amount of time the children are spending with the new boyfriend or girlfriend, and that person’s past could be brought into question.
For example, if they’ve previously been arrested or have had other legal trouble in the past, this could be presented as being against the safety and well-being of the child. This could then affect the court’s decision on your parental responsibilities.
What if the new relationship gets serious?
You could be separated from your spouse for two years and began dating your new boyfriend or girlfriend a year and a half ago. By this point, you may have made the decision to move in together. In the eyes of the court, this could be seen as support and could affect the maintenance or spousal support you initially could’ve received from your spouse.
There’s a lot that can play into whether or not dating while your divorce is pending can affect the outcome of the divorce. Best practice would be to take all unique instances of your divorce into consideration and to let your attorney know if you’re dating someone so adequate preparation can take place.
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