Dating while divorcing can help you feel lovable and desirable – just as your previous love life is coming apart. It can also help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety that comes during a divorce, giving you something to focus on besides trials and tribulations. However, for several legal and emotional reasons, it is not a very good idea.
Dating’s Impact on the Divorce Settlement
In theory, you may have been the perfect spouse during the marriage and only began dating after it was clear that divorce was imminent. But dating during divorce proceedings opens up questions about marital misconduct, such as adultery. If a judge disapproves of your dating behavior, s/he may hold it against you during the proceedings. This feeling may be subconscious, but judges are only human and can’t help forming biases just like everyone else.
In addition, dating before a divorce is finalized usually angers and saddens the other spouse. This is true regardless of how he or she may have acted during the marriage itself. It may cause the other spouse to question how faithful you were during the marriage, even if that question never crossed his or her mind before. This often causes the other spouse to become confrontational and distrustful, further complicating divorce proceedings.
Finally, the new relationship may be considered in the division of property, child custody or alimony determination. This is especially true if you two move in together and/or your new partner has a stronger financial footing than your estranged spouse.
Dating’s Impact on Child Custody Issues
Watching a parent date while a divorce is pending is also difficult for children, who often come to resent the new person in the dating spouse’s life. If the child registers discomfort with your new relationship, the court can take that into account when making custody determinations. When one spouse is dating, the other spouse may also resist shared custody agreements for emotional reasons.
Furthermore, there will now be three parties for the court to consider during custody hearings – not two. If your new relationship has a shady past, that will be held against YOU during the divorce proceedings.
In addition, if you have children, you will likely have ongoing contact with your ex-spouse after the divorce is finalized. Dating before a divorce can poison your relationship with your ex-spouse for years to come, making future joint decisions more difficult than they needed to be.
Dating’s Impact on Emotional Issues
A new relationship can help you avoid feeling some of the pain of a divorce, but that relief is likely temporary. It is unlikely that you are truly emotionally ready to start a new relationship. Studies have shown that the first relationship after a divorce has little chance of long-term survival. Are you really ready to jeopardize so much for a relationship that likely won’t last? And if the new person in your life really is “the one,” shouldn’t they put your best interest first by waiting until after the divorce is final?
Finding a Divorce Attorney in San Diego
If you find yourself faced with divorce and need professional, compassionate advice on how to handle this difficult time, please call The Edmunds Law Firm at (800) 431-2526, or fill out the contact form on our website. We have over 33 years of experience handling a variety of complicated family law cases in California.