Even if you wanted out of your marriage, you likely miss the companionship that comes with being part of a couple. To experience this feeling again, you might have decided to test the waters by downloading a dating app or signing up for a dating service. You might even have gone on several dates – or have found a new partner.
No matter how excited you are to restart your romantic life, it is important to exercise caution when dating during your divorce. Failing to do so could affect the outcome of your proceedings.
The dangers of dating during your divorce
Dating during your divorce may seem innocent enough, especially if your relationship began after you and your spouse separated. Yet, if it started soon thereafter, your spouse could become suspicious of its timeline. If you give your spouse reason to think you met your new partner while you two were still together, this could make them irate. Their reaction to your relationship could make your divorce more contentious than it needs to be. As a result, your divorce could become lengthier and more expensive than you planned.
Entering a new relationship during your divorce could also impact the terms of your settlement. If you are already living with your partner, or if you two are planning on living together, your spouse may use your arrangement to argue that you do not need alimony. Your spouse may also try to claim that you are wasting marital assets on your relationship, which could affect the share of property you receive.
Furthermore, your decision to start a new relationship may have effects on the share of parenting time the court awards you. By bringing your partner around your children, you may make it more difficult for them to process your divorce. Even if you try hiding your relationship from them, the attention you give it may make it seem like you are neglecting your parental duties. If the court has reason to believe this is true, you could end up with less parenting time than you hoped for.
It is possible that your divorce is amicable, and your spouse will be understanding – if not supportive – of any new relationship you enter. Yet, this is the exception rather than the rule, and waiting to date until after your divorce is usually the best course of action. An attorney can clarify any concerns you have about how dating could impact your divorce settlement.