For many people going through a divorce, dating is the last thing on their mind. But for others, this might seem like the perfect opportunity to shed the past and move on to a new and hopefully brighter future.
But is it a good idea to start dating before the ink is dry on your final Marital Settlement Agreement? The first thing you might want to think about is that, although you may no longer live with or love your ex, you are still legally married until the court says otherwise. That could cost you before, and even after the divorce is finalized — both emotionally and financially.
Although Florida is a no-fault divorce state – meaning either party can seek a divorce without assigning blame – a vindictive soon-to-be ex-spouse can try to use your decision to date against you. He or she might feel jealousy or anger and that can result in their unwillingness to cooperate during the proceedings, which in turn can drag them out even longer.
In states where fault is assigned, your ex-spouse might add adultery to the list of grounds for divorce.
Dating during divorce becomes particularly problematic if children are involved. The courts may take your decision to date into consideration when determining child custody matters. In addition, this is a difficult time for children and adding a new boyfriend or girlfriend into the mix is likely to make it even harder on them.
Taking it a step further, what if you decide you want to move in with the person you are dating? Will you be mixing your finances together with this new person? This could have an impact on how future spousal support will be determined.
Because divorce proceedings can take many months to complete, you may find it difficult to remain alone during this period of your life. If you feel you simply must date, it’s always best not to tell the world through social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter. And it’s best to keep your children separate from anyone you date.
If you have questions about how dating might impact your case, you should consult qualified legal counsel who can explain the risks.
Lori Barkus is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil and Family Law mediator and guardian ad litem. She handles matters relating to divorce, custody, child support, paternity, collaborative divorce, adoption, parental rights, and family law and civil mediation.
Ms. Barkus is a cum laude graduate of the University of Miami School of Law. She is admitted to practice in Florida, Georgia and the District of Columbia, as well as in the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida and the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Appeals. She is also a member of Leading Women for Shared Parenting.
If you are interested in a consultation or have questions do not hesitate to contact Barkus Law. Simply click here and send us a message and we will get right back to you.