It comes as no surprise that many people who are going through the process of divorce feel lonely and unsupported. Divorce is a stressful and emotional process, so it can be tempting to seek solace in a new romantic relationship. However, if you are going through a divorce, it is generally a bad idea to start dating before the divorce is final. Not only can dating while separated be emotionally complicated, it can also have legal consequences.
So, can you date or get engaged before a divorce is finalized? Sure. Is it a good idea? Almost never. Here are four important reasons why you should avoid dating during your divorce.
It can prolong the divorce process
Dating during a divorce can complicate the proceedings and make them take longer. This is because your spouse may see your new relationship as evidence that you were unfaithful or that you didn’t value them or your marriage. This can lead to disputes over property division, alimony, and child custody, which can drag out the divorce process and make it more contentious. If you’re still amicable with your spouse, don’t jeopardize that by starting a new relationship unless you plan to keep it totally under wraps.
It can impact child custody and support
If you have children, dating during a divorce can also affect child custody and your parenting time. Courts prioritize the best interests of the children, and a new romantic relationship can be seen as a distraction from your parental responsibilities. For example, if you plan to spend nights at a new partner’s house, your schedule may not be conducive to seeing your child regularly. Additionally, if your new partner has a criminal record, substance abuse issues, or other issues the court considers a red flag, it could harm your chances of securing custody or visitation rights.
If you are paying child support during the divorce process, your new partner’s income and financial obligations could be taken into account when calculating the amount you owe. This could increase the amount of child support you are required to pay, which can be a financial burden and could strain the relationship you have with your current partner. It’s best to wait until child support has been determined to start dating again.
It can be emotionally complicated
Dating during a divorce may bring up complicated feelings of guilt, shame, and betrayal, as well as the stress of the divorce process itself. Starting a new relationship can distract you from the work of healing and moving on from your marriage. It can also create new emotional entanglements and attachments that can be difficult to navigate while your divorce is ongoing. Putting yourself through such a roller coaster of emotions isn’t a great choice when you need to focus on making smart decisions for your future.
It can impact property division and spousal support
Finally, dating during a divorce can impact the division of property and the award of alimony. If you are living with your new partner or spending significant amounts of time with them, it could be seen as cohabitation. This can affect how property is divided, as well as how much spousal support you are awarded. If you receive alimony and start living with your new partner, you may be creating an opportunity for your ex-spouse to argue that you no longer need financial support.
Edina Divorce Lawyers
While it may be tempting to start dating during your divorce, it is important to resist the urge. It is best to focus on healing and moving on from your marriage, and wait until the divorce is finalized before starting a new relationship. Not dating while divorce is pending will help you avoid unnecessary complications and protect your legal and financial interests.
If you’re struggling to feel supported by friends and family during your divorce, don’t seek out a new relationship. Instead, turn to a legal professional who knows how to help you get what you deserve from your divorce. Edina family law attorney Beth Barbosa works with clients throughout the Twin Cities on their divorces, custody cases, pre-divorce planning, and other family law issues. When you have Beth by your side, you’ll feel ready to promptly resolve your divorce before you start dating. Contact Beth.