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Is it illegal to date during a divorce?

On Behalf of | May 15, 2023 | Divorce |

Everyone knows that divorce takes time. For one thing, there’s generally a delay between when someone decides that they want to get a divorce and when they actually file for divorce from their spouse. Some people spend months or years considering their options before finally taking that step.

Additionally, the divorce process can take a long time after someone files. It could still be months or even up to a year before a couple is officially divorced after initial paperwork is filed. In other words, it’s very understandable that you may be interested in starting another relationship before your divorce has been finalized if you’re either thinking about filing for divorce or you’re mid-process. For you, the romantic aspect of your relationship may have been terminated long ago. But will it cause problems if you start to date before your divorce is finalized?

Dating can affect the divorce process in some ways

It isn’t illegal to date. There are no laws saying that you can’t date someone while you are still married to your spouse and in the midst of a divorce. If you want to ask your coworker out for a cup of coffee or download the newest dating app for your phone, you’re not violating the law in doing so.

With that said, it is important to be aware of how such decisions may impact your divorce. For instance, maybe your ex-spouse will argue that you are dissipating family assets by spending them on your new relationship. They may try to get more of the assets in the divorce as a result. They could point to things like gifts that you bought using family funds, meals that you ate or even trips that you took together.

Another example could be if your ex claims that your new partner isn’t safe for your minor children to be around. This may or may not be true, but they could bring it up in court either way.  If you’re trying to get custody of your kids, but you’re already living with someone that you’ve started a relationship with, is that going to impact your chances of actually getting custody?

Working through the process

Dating doesn’t violate the law and would not negate your ability to divorce, but it can make the process more complicated and potentially more contentious. As such, seeking legal guidance sooner rather than later is a good idea.

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