Dating before Your Divorce is Finalized
It happened. You or your spouse decided it is time to go your separate ways and you are ready to move on. You suddenly realize you have so much to do now. Time to update your Facebook relationship status, change your profile picture create a bumble account, swipe left and right for hours on end, and go out with your friends to mingle. I mean why you shouldn’t date since the paperwork is already started?
The short answer is your divorce isn’t finalized yet. From an attorney perspective, dating before the divorce is finalized can exacerbate conflict between spouses. At the time of divorce trust between spouses is typically at an all-time low, and when a new significant other is introduced that can greatly escalate conflict. Conflict hinders settlement, exacerbates attorney fees, and drags out your case. Here is a short example…if you want your spouse to pay you spousal support are they going to be more likely to agree to pay you support if you are dating someone, or not? Your spouse will immediately presume the money they pay you will go to your new significant other so why should they pay you? You can see the underlying problem.
If you have children the introduction of a new significant other before your case is finalized can also negatively affect your case. When making custody and timesharing decisions Judge’s like stability for children. Vaulting into a new relationship changes the status quo for the children. Would you like it if your spouse’s girlfriend/boyfriend who you have never met started to pick up your children after school? Probably not. Divorce is harder enough, and dating can just add layers of complexity.
Finally, consider that the other spouse may be in a different stage of the grief cycle than you are. You may be ready to move on and have been for years, but the other spousal may still be in shock that you actually filed for divorce. If your other spouse finds out you are dating this could drive the other spouse straight into the anger or depression stage of the grief cycle. Good luck getting the settlement you wanted now.
Can you date during a divorce? Absolutely. Is it a good idea for your case? Probably not. If you are going to date during your divorce just understand that until your case is closed you are basically under a microscope. Your spouse, the other attorney, court experts, and the Judge all get to look at your life very closely, and a new significant other.
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