Can I Date Before My Divorce is Finalized?

Divorce can be complicated for everyone involved and many questions arise about how daily decisions impact the case itself. Determining if one should date during a divorce is a common hurdle because people want to move on with their lives but do not want to do anything to hurt their case. There are multiple considerations, including possible legal ramifications, influence on the judge, alimony, and child custody. It is important to carefully review the specifics of a case and state law to make an informed decision.

Is it Legal to Date While Going Through a Divorce?

It is important to understand that states vary on legal issues surrounding divorce. Dating someone else could certainly come up in the proceedings and might be problematic. A new relationship could lead to uncomfortable topics and issues most would rather not deal with on top of the normal stress of a divorce case. Most jurisdictions do not specifically address dating while a divorce is pending. This does not mean that there will not be consequences from beginning a new relationship.

Will Dating Someone New Damage My Case?

Dating during the divorce process can certainly complicate matters. Be aware that dating before a divorce is finalized could become a factor in fault-based divorce cases. In some states, a fault divorce may be granted based on one party showing that their spouse was abusive, committed adultery, or in some other way caused the breakdown of the marriage. In a case where one spouse begins a new relationship while still technically married, the other could argue infidelity. It may also raise questions and could damage the image of the spouse in court. It is also good to remember that divorce is often emotionally difficult and can lead to feelings of resentment and anger.

Will Dating Impact Child Custody Proceedings?

Divorce becomes much more complicated when children are involved. Child custody can be a complicated issue, both legally and emotionally. Separation of children can be hard for both parents, and negative feelings may increase with the idea of the child being around a new person. Keeping these feelings in mind can help reduce animosity. On the legal side of things, dating someone new can have a real-world impact on child custody arrangements. In some cases, a judge may issue an order that prevents the child from exposure to a parent’s partner until the divorce is finalized. This could significantly affect the amount of time the dating parent has with their own child. Courts look at custody issues based on what is best for the child. If it appears that the parent is less focused on the child’s needs, it can be detrimental to their case.

Will Dating Impact Spousal Support?

Some spouses look upon dating to represent cohabitation. They may decide that a few overnights constitute cohabitation and try to eliminate Pendente Lite or temporary alimony during the pendency of the case. This becomes a critical issue especially when a spousal support order is part of the divorce.

Meanwhile, proving cohabitation may not be as easy as it appears. The New Jersey statutes specifically define cohabitation at N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(n) . Essentially, when it comes to evidence of cohabitation as far as alimony, it takes much more that showing that your former spouse is involved in an intimate relationship with someone new. However, whether is can be proven, it will complicate your divorce and certainly cost more to litigate this issue.

South Jersey Divorce Lawyers at Burnham Douglass Help Clients Address Issues During the Divorce Process

The decision of whether to date during your divorce may present a few legal hurdles. If you need help contact the lawyers at Burnham Douglass to address any issues or concerns you may have. For a free consultation, call us at 856-751-5505 or contact us online. Located in Marlton and Northfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Camden County, Burlington County, Atlantic County, Gloucester County, and Mercer County.

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