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Should You Date During Separation?

It doesn’t matter if you have been separated for a long time or recently found out that you and your husband have reached the end of the road. You finally feel free and want to move on to the next chapter in your life, which includes finding someone special to spend your days with and […]

It doesn’t matter if you have been separated for a long time or recently found out that you and your husband have reached the end of the road. You finally feel free and want to move on to the next chapter in your life, which includes finding someone special to spend your days with and maybe nights with, too.

You have friends who began dating before finalizing their divorce and are either having fun meeting new people or are knee-deep into a new relationship that has them walking on air. Whatever the case, they seem so happy. So why is your lawyer telling you that you planning to date date during separation might not be such a good idea right now? If everybody’s doing it, how bad can it be?

Well, that depends. Here are a few reasons why you might want to hold off on expanding your love life until you’re officially divorced. 

Your Ex Is Against You Dating

Having an angry ex lurking in the shadows waiting to punish you can make your life a living hell. One of the quickest ways to anger a soon-to-be ex is to start dating someone new when they feel dead set against it. They will look for every way possible to hold your moving on against you, which could have consequences for you depending on the state where you live.

Aside from hurting your bottom line, an angry ex could use your dating life against you in a personal way, which can affect you and your children, if you have any, emotionally. Not to mention, place the person dating you in the middle of your nasty breakup, which is not a great place to be.

The No-fault Divorce 

Depending on where you live and whether your state, the one in which you’re divorcing, is a no-fault divorce state, dating before you have a signed divorce decree could raise some legal issues for you. No-fault divorce states include Colorado, California, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin. 

A spouse seeking a divorce in these states may not allege fault, including whether their spouse was unfaithful. In the remaining states, including Alabama, adultery can be held against the offending spouse as part of the alimony calculation and can bleed over into custody as well. 

All of that said, officially counting and poisoning the well are two different stories. Stand before the wrong judge, mediator, or arbitrator, and you’d be surprised how decisions can quickly turn against you somewhat unofficially. Though you may not consider your dating behavior adulterous, in addition to your ex, someone in a position of power might. And it could cost you more than you anticipate.

Money

As I mentioned above, an unfaithful spouse may receive an order to pay the aggrieved spouse more in alimony as a “penalty” for their behavior. I also said that adultery could affect custody and how much parenting time a parent has with children correspondingly impacts finances. 

The amount of child support a court will award you or direct you to pay is related to how much time you have with your kids. The more time you have, the more you will spend on food, childcare, carpooling, and the like. These expenses are not as easily quantifiable. 

How much money you spend on dating may also be relevant, especially if the cost comes from marital funds. In some situations, a court can require you to reimburse the other spouse for those expenditures later. 

If the person you date before finalizing your divorce becomes a somewhat permanent fixture in your life, that, too, can affect your wallet. It can affect the amount of alimony determined, perhaps obviate it completely, since you have someone else contributing to your support or supporting you entirely. 

If that person doesn’t wind up staying with you for a long time or permanently, you may find yourself seeking a post-divorce judgment to recalculate spousal and child support. That’s never opportune.   

You’re Not Ready

Are you sure your reasons for wanting to date are aboveboard? If your motives for getting out there are to anger your spouse or get back at them, you are not ready to date now. When people are interested in meeting someone new for real, they go into it with a clear head — and intentions. 

There’s a caveat to this: unless you’ve had enough time to heal, your intentions may mean little compared to your readiness to date. It’s true some separations are long, and the divorce process can take years, especially when it is a contested divorce. But depending on how fresh your breakup is or its circumstances, you may not be in a “good” place yet to meet someone new. Ask yourself if you are, and be honest with yourself as you answer.

You Have Kids

Whether you’re ready to date will have little to do with if your children are. And likely, it will take longer for your children to get used to Mom or Dad spending time romantically with someone other than each other. 

If you’re separated, your children probably haven’t had ample time to deal with your split, let alone you moving on from it in front of them. Older children, including teens, are no exception and can react and lash out in various ways. Therefore, it’s critical to keep a close watch on how they respond to your impending divorce and not make it more of a transition than it needs to be.

Find an Alabama Divorce Lawyer 

It’s understandable why planning to date during separation can seem appealing. The prospect of a new chapter is exhilarating. However, you’re not on the clock. Nora Ephron summarized it best when she said, “Marriages come and go, but divorce is forever.” That’s lucky for you because it means you have plenty of time to date.

At Charlotte Christian Law, we understand how difficult it can be to move forward during separation and are here to guide you in your decision-making. With offices in Huntsville and Birmingham, we are here to listen and help. Call us today

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