Is Dating During Divorce a Bad Idea?
Ending a marriage is often a difficult and highly emotional experience. Divorce involves settling many important issues that can have life-altering impacts upon your finances and even your relationship with your children. It’s not uncommon for people to want to wait for their divorce to be finalized before getting back “out there,” but that’s certainly not the case for everyone.
You might have heard it said that some people quietly mourn the end of their marriages for months or even years, and there’s some truth to that. In these cases, filing the divorce petition and serving their spouse usually happens once they have fully accepted the end of their marriage and are ready to move on.
Whether or not this is the case for you, if you’re thinking about dating while your divorce is going on, you’re probably asking yourself one all-important question: Is it a bad idea? And that’s a valid question indeed, because although dating during a divorce isn’t illegal, it can complicate the process and may affect the outcome.
Dating during Divorce Can Complicate Equitable Distribution
Because Florida is an equitable distribution state, the courts will take a variety of factors into account when considering a financial judgment for alimony and the division of your marital estate. Among these factors are each spouse’s contribution to the marital finances and each spouse’s separate financial situation.
Dating during a divorce can become an important factor when judges are making these important decisions. If, for example, a spouse is spending marital assets on their new partner, the value of whatever was spent may be awarded to the other spouse. If this sum can’t be provided with the remaining marital property, then the spending spouse may be required to make payments in addition to alimony to make up for it.
Moving in with a new boyfriend or girlfriend can also make it difficult to get alimony. Alimony is all about helping someone maintain the standard of living they became accustomed to during their marriage. If such needs are met by cohabiting with a new partner, a judge may rethink ordering alimony altogether.
Dating During Divorce Can Affect Child Custody Outcomes
When it comes to child custody matters in Florida, the courts are concerned with ruling in the best interests of children. This means that whatever the terms of a child custody agreement are, a judge has carefully considered the potential impact it may have on a child.
If either spouse is dating during their divorce, their partners add new variables to the equation. Not only must the court assess the fitness of each parent when determining legal and physical custody, but each parent’s partner must also be evaluated. This is to ensure that a child will not be placed in a situation where they are likely to be harmed – such could be the case if a parent’s partner is a convicted felon, registered sex offender, or has a “checkered past,” so to speak.
Lastly, judges in Florida may also consider a parent’s “moral fitness” before issuing a child custody ruling, and dating before the divorce is finalized can affect that judgment.
The Choice Is Yours
Although it’s possible that dating during your divorce can affect its outcome in a few ways, that’s not to say it will be for certain. Ultimately, people who wish to pursue relationships with other people before their divorce is finalized must make that decision for themselves.
Sometimes, though, having legal counsel advise you of what you should do in your unique situation can provide the helpful guidance you need. If you are considering whether or not to pursue or continue a relationship during your divorce, reach out to Dale L. Bernstein, Chartered Law Office for assistance.
Not only can we help you address important questions like these, but we can also provide the professional legal support you need to fight for the best possible outcomes in your divorce.
Request a consultation with Dale L. Bernstein, Chartered Law Office today by contacting us online!