Going through a divorce can be stressful, emotional, and challenging. Once you and your partner decide to break up, many things can cross your mind. While some people may take time to heal before dating again, others may want to embark on a new chapter in their life and start dating right away.
But before you re-enter the dating pool and make yourself available, you need to know how your action will impact your divorce case. We understand that companionship is an essential part for most of us, so it is only natural you yearn for a new partner with whom you can share life.
Unfortunately, dating while in the midst of a divorce could complicate your case proceedings and significantly impact child custody and visitation decisions. In this post, we discuss everything you need to know about dating during a divorce and how it could affect your case.
Understanding the Impact of Dating on Your Divorce Case
Dating before your divorce case is finalized can have a significant impact on your divorce case proceedings. Even in no-fault divorce states, it is still possible for marital misconduct such as perceived adultery to be factored into critical decisions depending on the circumstances surrounding your case.
It is also possible for your new relationship to be considered as a significant factor in spousal support or division of property determinations, which could potentially impact the amount the dating spouse may receive if he/she is already living with the new partner.
Even if you are dating a new partner but not living together, any expenditure incurred due to the new relationship, such as vacations, gifts, and other forms of spending on your new partner, will most probably be factored into the property division determination.
On a personal level, dating while going through a divorce can easily create heightened conflict. Typically, the spouse who isn’t dating might suspect that the relationship started even before you separated, leading to immense anger.
Such emotions may inhibit chances of negotiation and could lead to contentious and a more challenging environment in which to finalize the divorce.
Implications on Child Custody and Visitation
When one spouse is already dating someone else while still in the process of finalizing a divorce, it may affect the court’s decision on child custody and visitation. Most kids usually find such situations stressful and quite tricky to handle. The older the kid, the worse these circumstances may affect him/her.
Suppose child custody is awarded to the parent who is already dating. In that case, the adolescent kid may become argumentative and moody due to the feeling that the separation was caused as a result of the mother or father dating someone else. Discomfort and the general home environment could complicate parenting and make things worse.
Furthermore, the other spouse that is not dating may become resistant to any peaceful agreements for child custody and visitation. This could cause the entire process to take much longer, with unnecessary negotiations arranged to appease the angry spouse.
Sometimes, an unwillingness to participate or compromise on child custody issues could cause more difficulties during the child custody court hearing sessions. In some cases, this might influence the judge’s decision about which parent should be granted custody. This is usually done in the best interest of the child.
When it comes to visitation, the amount of time allowed to be with your kid could be significantly reduced or altered to include an observer who will always be there to ensure the child isn’t negatively affected by a third party (the dating spouse’s new partner).
The Risk of Alienation of Affection and Criminal Conversation Lawsuits
In addition to the possible child custody consequences, dating while in the process of divorce may subject you to criminal statutes that view adultery as a misdemeanor. However, this will depend on your state. While most states don’t consider adultery a crime, others do.
Your new partner might be subject to legal action as well if your relationship began before you initiated the divorce. In some states, the other partner can sue for “alienation of affection.” In an alienation of affection lawsuit, the spurned spouse will typically sue your new partner for stealing you, leading to your marriage breakup.
In most cases, the lawsuit will be accepted even if your relationship with your new partner isn’t sexual. In some states, a family member who advises and convinces one spouse to end his/her marriage may be sued for alienation of affection.
Another suit that may come up if you decide to start dating before finalizing your divorce is the “criminal conversation” suit. In this case, the other spouse sues the dating spouse accusing him/her of engaging in extramarital sex. In this case, he/she must have sufficient evidence that the relationship started before the married couple’s legal separation.
Although criminal conversation and alienation of affection are not common lawsuits, they do exist in most states. That is why it is critical to speak to an experienced divorce attorney if you plan to date again before your divorce case is finalized.
Sometimes, dating during divorce may not be a big deal depending on where you stay, but it is always best to wait until your case is finalized before you jump on to the dating scene again.
Discuss Your Divorce Case with an Experienced Divorce Attorney
Working with an experienced divorce attorney can help you avoid ruining your divorce case. If you desire to start dating as soon as possible, he/she will guide you on how to do it without jeopardizing your case.
At Legal Giant, our team of experienced divorce attorneys is knowledgeable, compassionate, and ready to help you in effectively dissolving your marriage and starting a new life. For many years, we have helped thousands of clients navigate the most difficult divorce cases.
You can always rely on us and be sure that we shall always be there when you need us most. Contact us today for legal consultation and an initial review of your divorce case.