Will Dating During Legal Separation Affect the Final Divorce Decree?
Georgia is a no-fault state in divorce matters, and dating other people while still married is considered adultery. That is true even if you’re legally separated, and dating during this time can affect the outcome of your divorce. If you’re working on getting a divorce, consult skilled family law attorneys in Alpharetta to find out what you should do.
Generally, the court is unlikely to consider dating while separated in determining the division of your marital property. That is if the court establishes that your dating timeline didn’t cause the divorce. However, the fact that you’re dating while separated can affect how the court rules on several matters concerning the divorce, especially in a contested divorce.
How Does Legal Separation Work in Georgia?
Before filing for a divorce in Georgia, you must be legally separated. However, neither you nor your spouse has to move out of your matrimonial home. Legal separation means suspending marital relations with the intention to dissolve the marriage, hence the possibility of still living in the same household.
The law doesn’t make it mandatory to have a written or verbal separation agreement, but proof of an agreed-upon or verifiable date is recommendable. Additionally, no specific time is required for the separation, although the recommended is 30 days. Legal separation attorneys in Alpharetta can provide legal counsel on the factors that affect the legal separation and final divorce decree.
How Does Dating Affect Child Custody and Visitation?
Courts must always act in the child’s best interests when awarding custody and visitation rights. They must ensure they send the child to live with the parent who will raise them in a stable home and give them the best care.
If you have been living with a new partner in the presence of your kids before finalizing your divorce, the judge might believe you’ve not been working toward creating a stable environment for the children. That could make the court rule in favor of the other parent if they’re not dating during your legal separation.
A judge may also place restrictions on the visitation schedule if they establish your new partner is always there during your time with the children. The aim is to ensure the kids are not put at risk in the presence of strangers not well-known to them when they spend time with you.
Dating May Affect Your Children’s Custody Preferences
Georgia allows children 14 or older to decide the parent they want to live with. Dating while legally separated may upset them for moving on too quickly and not trying to work things out with their other parent.
Besides, if your new partner makes the children uncomfortable for whatever reason, the children may want to live with the other parent. That would reduce the likelihood of being awarded custody of the children. Consult experienced legal separation attorneys in Fulton County on creating a solid case to fight for your child custody rights.
How Does Dating During Separation Affect Alimony?
As long as a marriage hasn’t been legally dissolved, dating is considered adultery and is a fault ground for divorce. Dating before completing the divorce process can prevent you from receiving alimony if the court finds that you have moved on with a new partner. It may decide to reduce the alimony amount or entirely deny the request.
Besides, your spouse may claim that you started a new relationship before the divorce was filed and that it’s responsible for the failed marriage. If they can prove this claim in court, it can be why the court denies you spousal support. Experienced Alpharetta legal separation attorneys can help you fight for your rights.
To Date or Not to Date During Legal Separation?
While you can technically date while legally separated from your spouse, thinking long and hard about the possible outcomes of your divorce and family is crucial.
Legal Implications of Dating While Separated
From a legal perspective, it’s not advisable to date once you separate from your spouse while awaiting divorce. According to Georgia law, you’re still married to your partner even if you have physically separated from them and no longer wish to continue the marital relationship. Engaging in extra-marital relationships before your divorce is settled is considered adultery.
Remember the risk of your relationships affecting the outcome of your alimony, child custody, and parenting time. Dating a new person may not help resolve your case amicably when emotions are already running high on both sides.
Social Implications of Dating While Separated
Who you date during your separation and everything related to that is potentially discoverable. Dating a new person may not help your case when emotions are running high. Before the divorce is settled, it’s best to consider if you’re emotionally ready to get into another relationship. It’s advisable to leave room for reconciliation, just in case you may want to work on your marriage.
It’s not uncommon for family law lawyers in Georgia to represent individuals with divorce proceedings who later reconcile before the divorce is settled. Unless you’re entirely sure your marriage is broken over irreconcilable differences, you may want to use this time to reflect on your marriage and work on your emotional health.
A Compassionate Family Law Attorney Helping You Find Clarity on Legal Separation
Dating while having a pending divorce case could complicate the entire process. If the divorce is contested, dating could increase tension and create arguments that could delay the process.
Experienced Fulton County family law attorneys would recommend only dating once the divorce decree is issued.
Our law firm provides legal counsel and representation for clients with divorce cases. If you have more questions about dating while separated or other issues concerning your divorce, we are here to help. We can provide the legal support you need and guide you on every step. Call the Hecht Family Law firm at (470) 291-5342 to talk to a family-oriented attorney.