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Can I date during my divorce?

For some people, starting over cannot happen fast enough after a marriage has failed. But what are the consequences of jumping in fast and dating right after separating from your spouse? If you are dating, or plan to start dating immediately, have you thought it through? There are a variety of reasons why it is better to wait until your divorce decree is signed prior to entering into a new relationship, some are legal, others are for your overall wellbeing.

Financial and legal considerations

Despite being separated, keep in mind that you remain technically married to your spouse until the judge signs your divorce decree. Thus, dating someone new during separation is at least technically adultery. Provided you are filing a no fault divorce action, this may or may not be an issue. Remember the picture you are presenting to the judge. You want to be straightforward and put your best foot forward, and rushing into a new relationship during divorce proceedings sends the wrong message to the court, especially when you have children.

Do you plan to seek alimony from your spouse? If so, dating or living with a new partner may impact whether it is awarded, or the amount. Do you have children with your spouse? Visitation and custody is likely to turn into a battle when a new partner enters the picture. Children need extra support during divorce, and introducing a partner to your children is often a recipe for resentment. In Georgia, kids age 14 and older can choose the parent with which they want to live. Do you want your child to make a decision in anger because they are upset you moved on too quickly?

Prepare for a combative response from your soon to be ex

Furthermore, despite the fact that you and your spouse are divorcing, jealousy is a common reaction upon receiving the news that a soon-to-be former spouse has moved on. This reaction may cause a whole host of issues that drag out the proceedings and cost you extra time and money in attorney and court fees when your spouse battles you on the smallest things due to their reaction to your new relationship.

How will your new relationship influence you and your divorce?

Being in a new relationship may also influence your divorce strategy in negative ways, particularly when it comes to property division and child custody. When a divorcing partner lives with a new girlfriend or boyfriend, they may accept less than their due from the marital estate. However, this is a mistake. You should look to the future as if you were single, and not part of a couple. Relationships too soon after divorce often go sour, and you should not take less than you are due because you invested in a new relationship. You very likely will regret it later.

There are also emotional consequences you should think about. A new relationship is exciting and exhilarating, but it will shift your focus and may cloud your judgment. You might let things go that you would otherwise investigate or fight for, which can shift the outcome of your divorce.

Divorce is painful for spouses and children. Taking the time to process and work through your emotions and that of your children is something you will appreciate later. Think about the reasons why you want to start a new relationship at this juncture in your life.

 

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Hecht Family Law
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Suite 125
Alpharetta, GA 30004

Phone: 678-926-9234
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