Divorces can often go on for a long time, and it is not uncommon for people to meet someone else they are interested in during that time. Here is everything you need to know about dating during divorce.

Many people often wonder if it is a good idea to date during divorce. It is a reasonable question, as divorces can carry on for a while and no one wants to stop a new relationship that is naturally forming. While dating during a divorce is not encouraged, there are ways for divorcing individuals to date other people while minimizing the risk of divorce complications.

The Truth About Dating During Divorce

Dating during divorce is usually frowned upon for a variety of reasons. One major reason is that dating can add a lot of unnecessary aggravation, stress, and possibly even a more complicated and expensive divorce. Dating during divorce can exacerbate such issues even if everything in the divorce is going smoothly thus far. A new partner’s presence during a divorce, particularly when paraded in front of the spouse or children, can enrage the soon-to-be ex and raise suspicion that the relationship began as an “affair” before the separation. Spouses may try to wage a legal war of sorts, in a misguided effort to exact some sort of revenge. Whether justified or not, bringing a new partner around can increase tension and conflict, delay the divorce proceedings, and increase attorney’s fees (if one has lawyers handling their case).

Related: Divorce Lawyers for Women

In some states, depending on the specific issues in an individual’s divorce case, the opposite party’s lawyer may be able to depose the new partner. To depose someone means to ask questions under oath and have a stenographer and/or videographer record all the answers. The other party’s attorney may even subpoena the new partner to testify at the divorce trial.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Dating During a Divorce

If an individual decides to date during a divorce, there are some do’s and don’ts that they should consider before getting into a relationship.

The Do’s:

  • Do socialize in groups, being careful not to pair off with someone.
  • It is okay to attend events individually and network socially. If you meet someone you like, you should be upfront about your situation. Exchange contact information, but avoid one-on-one contact until you are at least separated from your spouse.
  • Find a divorce support group to help cope with feelings of loss and isolation.

The Don’ts:

  • One should not even consider dating until physically separated from their spouse, even if they or their spouse agree that the marriage is over. The judge (or the spouse) may decide the new relationship is the reason the marriage failed and (depending on the state’s laws) this could lead a judge to award more of the marital assets to the other spouse.
  • Once separated, individuals should date with the utmost propriety, particularly around their children. Avoid introducing children to the new partner, as it will likely upset the soon-to-be ex-spouse and add to the child’s pain. Introducing a new partner at a very early point in the relationship is not a good idea for children, and making bad decisions like this could compromise future custody rights. A good rule of thumb is to wait until after the divorce has been finalized to begin dating and then only introduce children to a partner after dating for at least six months.
  • Don’t get pregnant or impregnate someone before the divorce is final. Pregnancy will prolong the case until the baby is born so that the court can verify paternity and determine custody and support requirements.

Do Lawyers Advise No Dating During a Divorce?

The reason divorce lawyers counsel against dating during a pending divorce (even if the couple is technically separated) is that it can increase both the cost and stress of the divorce trial. Individuals are not supposed to date someone else while they are still married. However, judges rarely punish someone who begins dating—sexually or otherwise—once they have physically and permanently separated from their spouse.

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If you have any more questions about dating during divorce, contact us to get in touch with the most qualified divorce attorney for you!