Choosing to date before your divorce is finalized can be a tricky call, especially because you aren’t necessarily right or wrong one way or another. Everyone moves on in different ways and at different speeds, and some people take longer to “get back out there” than others. However, it is important to be mindful of how quickly you do decide to move on because dating during the divorce or separation process can bring about additional problems and challenges.
If you are considering dating during your divorce or legal separation, make sure you know how it may affect you in the long run.
The Legal Aspects: Potential Implications
During a divorce, much of your private life becomes part of a legal proceeding. Your personal life will be scrutinized by attorneys and possibly before the court. This means your actions during your divorce can affect the way in which your divorce is settled, especially regarding child custody, child support, spousal support, and property division. Although the law does not outright disfavor you if you are dating before your divorce is finalized, your love life can have a more subtle effect on certain legal outcomes.
If you date during your divorce, your spouse could claim that you are not paying as much attention to your children, especially if you spend time with your new partner while you have custody of your children. As a result, their testimony of your role as a parent could harm your child custody case, resulting in a child custody outcome that is less favorable to you. If you spend a lot of money on romantic partners (gifts, dates, vacations), your spouse could also claim that you are spending marital assets. Additionally, if you move in and combine households with a new partner, you could become exempt from receiving spousal support, or you may be awarded fewer assets during the property division.
The Emotional Aspects Of Dating During A Divorce
Depending on the relationship you share with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, he or she may not respond favorably to your new love life. Seeing you date might stir up feelings of anger, hurt, and resentment, which could make your divorce messier and more emotional. As a result, your spouse may try to retaliate to hurt you, or they may be more vocal about their wants during the court meetings. This environment of increased conflict could make the divorce process much more stressful, more expensive, and substantially longer.
Your Feelings Could Be Compromised
You know your own needs better than anyone else, but that doesn’t mean your well-intended decision now won’t hurt you later. Some people may find that dating immediately after the end of their last relationship is a freeing, necessary step to help them move on. Or, you may just meet someone who truly is your match. Whatever the case, there are ways in which dating during your divorce may seem like the best choice for you. However, it is important to consider how this decision could jeopardize your own emotions or affect your decision-making process during a legal proceeding.
A divorce is a hefty life choice and the decisions you make during a divorce can affect your life many years into the future, from your financial well-being to your relationships with your children. Consider how combining the emotional toll and stress of a divorce with the feelings brought about by pursuing new relationships will affect your ability to handle the life-altering decisions you will need to make as your divorce progresses.In short, if you can wait to reenter the dating world until after the papers have been signed, you’ll face far fewer risks of negative repercussions. Dating during your divorce isn’t against any rules, but it can complicate the divorce process and might make things more difficult for you, both emotionally and legally. To learn more about the divorce process, discuss your case with one of our experienced lawyers at McKinley Irvin. Contact McKinley Irvin today to get started on your case.