Can I Date Before My Divorce is Final?

Divorce can be a long difficult process that may take years to finalize. It may be tempting to begin dating before the marriage is officially dissolved. This is even more true if there was a lengthy separation before filing for divorce or the divorce process is agonizingly slow. So, can you start dating again before the divorce is finalized? Yes, you can start dating again. The more important question is should you start dating before the divorce is finalized? In most cases, dating before divorce is final is a bad idea.

  1. Dating someone new during your divorce could bring up raw emotions with your ex.

    Divorce is an emotionally charged process. If you start dating again and your ex finds out, it could cause a lot of hurt feelings, especially if they are not ready to move on yet. Even if you were completely faithful during the marriage, you ex may believe that you were cheating while you were together. Questions of infidelity arose between Falynn Guobadia and Simon Guobadia when his engagement to Porsha Williams was announced during the former couple’s divorce.  If you are on good terms with your ex, do you really want to hurt them? If you are not on good terms, it could cause them to become even more vindictive.

  2. Dating before the divorce is final could prolong the divorce process and make the divorce much more expensive.

    Divorces are quicker and cheaper when both spouses are cooperative. But if you begin dating again all of a sudden, your ex could go from being cooperative to deciding they will make your life hell. They could flat out refuse to cooperate, causing the case to go to trial, further dragging out the divorce process. Trial preparation is extremely time consuming for attorneys. A case that goes to trial will generate significantly more in attorney fees than a divorce that the spouses settle themselves.

  3. Dating before the divorce is final could adversely affect your settlement.

    Before the divorce is finalized, you are still legally married. In some states, like Virginia, adultery is a misdemeanor. Most states follow the equitable model in property division and will divide the property in a manner that fair, which does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split. A judge may take bad behavior during the divorce into consideration. You may end up with a worse settlement by dating while still legally married even if you were completely faithful before filing for divorce. However, state divorce laws do vary. Some states, like California, only allow no-fault divorces and adulterous behavior will not affect the property division whatsoever.

  4. Dating someone new will be hard for children to accept could affect child custody issues.

    Divorces are painful and stressful for children. While you may be ready to move on, your children might not be. Introducing a new partner may exacerbate the angst your child is already feeling. Furthermore, if your ex is already angry that you are in a new relationship, they may be less willing to amicably co-parent. Your new paramour will be subject to scrutiny when it comes to child custody. If there is anything shady in their background, your ex can use that against you in a child custody hearing. Judges will take bad behavior during the divorce into consideration when determining the custody arrangement.

  5. Dating can affect the amount of spousal support.

    The purpose of spousal support is to ensure that the spouse who was not the primary wage earner can maintain a similar lifestyle to the one they enjoyed while married. In most cases, it is temporary. If you begin dating and decide to cohabitate with your new love interest, your ex can say to the court that you do not need as much support because your new partner is providing for you. Note that if you move in with a new partner after the divorce is final but before you ex stops paying support, your ex can petition the court to reduce the amount of spousal support.

  6. You might not be emotionally ready for a new relationship.

    The end of a marriage is a very painful loss and you need time to grieve and heal. Most people going through a divorce are not in the right mental state to begin a new relationship. Some people may want a new relationship to help move on from the divorce and regain lost confidence. A better way to deal way to heal from the divorce is through friends, family, and a divorce support group.

  7. Beginning a new relationship during a divorce is not fair to the person you are dating.

    Divorces are extremely stressful and you could end up taking that stress out on the person you are dating. Chances are they will not be dating the best version of you, but a volatile angsty version. Furthermore, the person you are dating could be subject to scrutiny. If your ex is especially vindictive, they could sue your new partner for alienation of affection. Your new partner could be deposed if your divorce goes to trial, especially if there are child custody issues. This is a lot of anxiety to put into a new relationship and it is not fair to do this to someone.

Dating before a divorce is final is highly problematic. There is a chance that dating someone new might not affect the divorce proceeding, but ask yourself is it really worth taking that chance? If you really want to begin a new relationship before the divorce is finalized, talk to your attorney first. Your attorney can advise you of the consequences of dating while the divorce is still pending. If you are dating someone, you should keep quiet about the relationship and avoid being seen one on one in public. Definitely do not introduce a new partner to your children until after the divorce is final. If you truly believe you have met “the one” who could be your future spouse, postpone dating them. If this person is truly “the one” they will wait for you until after the divorce is final.

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