I would advise strongly against dating during a divorce. It sends the wrong message–big time. It doesn’t matter if you’re getting a divorce because your spouse was cheating on you. The fact is that if you’re caught dating before the divorce is final, it could compromise the ability to settle the case if a fair and expedient manner because now both sides are likely to want to go to war.
Plus, dating during a divorce compromises your relationship with your children who are hurting at this time more than likely, and are confused and conflicted. If they see you start dating before you and your spouse have actually obtained the divorce, they could turn on you and start to sympathize with the other spouse!
Plus, judges are likely to frown on this behavior. They will see it as lewd at worse, or complicit at best–especially if you were alleging that your spouse cheated. The judge is likely to wonder, hey, wait a minute, maybe they were both cheating in this relationship. As a result, you may not be awarded spousal support where you normally might have been. Or you may not be awarded custody of the children where you normally might have been. “How?” you ask. Well, a judge might see dating before the marriage is final as evidence of unfitness. They may see it as promiscuous. They may find it objectionable for any number of reasons.
It also matters how you date. Are you being subtle about it or do the children know? Are you living with the person before the divorce is finalized? Are you spending extended weekends away from the children and with this person? Does your spouse know about the dating activity?
Believe me the first wind your spouse catches of this it will be used against you in some way or form. I had one client whose spouse found all her pictures on an Internet dating site where she had posted her profile while the divorce was in its infancy. The grounds for the divorce was HIS infidelity. Well you better believe he and his attorney were all over these pictures. He annexed them to one of his opposition motions to her request for more spousal support while the divorce was pending.
Dating during a divorce is a tricky business. I don’t recommend it at all. Ultimately you are an adult and you make the final decisions about your personal life. Just remember that if you’re smart you would weigh the consequences first. It is not just an angry, jealous spouse you have to deal with. It is the potential financial fall out when a) your divorce takes much longer than planned to settle (thousands of extra dollars in legal fees), b)you lose possible spousal support because the judge thinks you have all this financial assistance from your paramour, c)the judge subconsciously has lost respect for you as a result of what they view as “loose” behavior that what they think is “fair” and “equitable” literally changes by tens of thousands of dollars.
The choice of whether dating during a divorce is something you ought to do, or not, really is yours to make.
image credit