You might be emotionally divorced from your spouse already, but there are a few reasons why you should hold off starting a new relationship before your divorce is finalized… Dating while you are separated can have emotional, legal and even strategic repercussions.
Dating while you are still legally married, even if your spouse has cheated on you numerous times, is like rubbing salt in the wound of your spouse. It is likely that they will feel hurt (irrationally so) and seek there idea of justice any way possible. It is possible to turn what was a more or less amicable divorce into a knockdown, drag out court battle.
You have to recognize that it’s in your best interest to try to keep an amiable relationship with your soon to be ex. If children are involved, you will likely be required to have ongoing contact with your ex after the divorce. The fact that you were dating before your divorce was final could affect your life long after the divorce is final.
Dating while you are in the process of a divorce may also have a negative effect on child custody determinations. Children seeing parents date new people is hard, especially for older children, and the new relationship could likely cause older children distress. So much so that they decide living with the other spouse would be better. It’s true that many courts don’t take the child’s wishes into consideration, some will, especially if a child is uncomfortable with a parent’s new partner.
Many judges have the opinion that until a divorce is final you are still legally married, which makes dating wrong. There are a few lenient judges that believe once the divorce has been filed then dating is okay. The main factor to consider is whether or not dating can or will affect the divorce.
It is possible, however not likely, that if you date before your divorce is final, that you could be accused of adultery. There is an archaic criminal statute that makes adultery a misdemeanor. This of course depends on your state. Most states no longer see adultery as a crime …but some do.
Being separated during a divorce will often leave you with a sense of longing for the attention a new interest can provide. There’s no doubt that if you are dating someone new, the feeling of being wanted and needed is a welcome change and a boost to your self-esteem. However, it is likely that a new relationship is nothing but an attempt to avoid some of the pain associated with going through a divorce.
While it is understandable to want to feel needed, there’s a good chance that you are not emotionally ready to be in a real relationship so soon. It is important to wait to begin a new relationship when you have dealt with all of the issues that caused your breakup and come to the place where you know your marriage is really over.
It is important to be able to be by yourself and make it on your own before jumping into a new relationship.