Divorce and dating rarely go together. Not only can dating during divorce potentially jeopardize your divorce settlement and child custody arrangement, it can rock the emotions of everyone involved. Before you start downloading dating apps, consider the following reasons NOT to date during divorce.
No. 1: It could take longer to finalize your divorce.
If your spouse hasn’t come to terms with your split – which usually takes time – finding out that you’re dating someone else probably isn’t going to go over well with them. Depending on his or her current state of mind, it could feel like you’re pouring salt on their wounds, or you could end up fanning the flames of their anger.
People who are upset and/or angry are typically less likely to want to make life easy for you or work with you to settle the divorce amicably. They could very well want to make you feel as miserable as they do, which in some cases, means drawing the divorce case out.
No. 2: It could jeopardize your divorce settlement.
In Texas, the judge will consider a couple legally married until their divorce decree is signed, sealed and delivered. An affair either party has prior to the divorce being finalized could be considered adultery, which could support a fault-based judgment against the adulterer, since adultery is one of the seven grounds for divorce in Texas.
The issue here is that questions could be raised as to whether community funds are being used to pay for entertainment, gifts, loans or trips for a lover, leaving you subject to a reimbursement or waste claim. If the judge finds that misuse of community monies has occurred, your spouse could be awarded a larger portion of the community estate when all is said and done.
No. 3: It could intensify the angst your children are feeling.
Going through a divorce is a tumultuous time for everyone involved, but children can take it especially hard. Bringing someone new into the mix can be confusing and stressful for children. Plus, the time you spend dating or with a new lover is precious time taken away from your kids. Don’t underestimate the fragility of your child’s mental health right now – they need as much attention as you are able to give.
Check out this past post where Aubrey shares five valuable resources to help kids cope during divorce.
No. 4: It could complicate co-parenting and child custody.
If your spouse is hurt or angry that you’re dating someone else, how eager do you think he or she will be to amicably co-parent and share custody with you? They may also have concerns about your child spending time with your new lover and whether that will affect the child negatively. Don’t be surprised if the other parent fights tooth and nail over every item in the parenting agreement or if they’re unwilling to let you keep your child an extra day for a special trip.
No. 5: It could cost you more to get divorced.
Whenever you do anything that complicates or drags out your divorce, you’ll most likely end up paying more fees to your attorney. If your spouse isn’t pleased that you’re dating before your divorce is finalized, your case could get prolonged, and therefore more expensive, if your spouse pursues relief from the court to keep the kids from being around your new love interest.
Want to keep costs in check during your divorce? Avoid these eight mistakes.
No. 6: It could hamper your ability to heal.
For most people, divorce is like a death, so it’s important to go through all of the stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance – before beginning a new relationship. Dating before you’ve worked through the stages of grief could slow or stall the emotional healing you need in order to move on in a healthy way. Instead, allow yourself time to go through the healing process so you are fully prepared to begin a new relationship with less baggage.
No. 7: It could cause undue stress for the person you date.
If going through a divorce is hard on you, any stress, anger and sadness you feel will likely rub off on anyone you’re dating. You can’t give 100 percent of yourself to that other person, which simply put, isn’t fair and would be pretty selfish on your part. If you need moral support, turn to friends, family and support groups or seek help from a therapist instead. Also, it is always possible that your new love interest could be dragged in to your divorce. He or she may be deposed or followed by your spouse to discover whether or not he or she is fit to be around your children – which certainly detracts from the romance of a new dating relationship.
Still want to date before your divorce is finalized?
Speak with your divorce attorney first. He or she can explain how dating could affect the outcome of your divorce and child custody based on the city and state where you live.
Aubrey tells all of her clients that there is a chance it won’t hurt you, but it will certainly never help your case to date before the divorce is final.
Once the ink is dry on your divorce papers and you’re ready to start dating again, check out these eight tips for dating AFTER divorce.
Since founding Connatser Family Law in 2013, Aubrey Connatser and her team have firmly established the next in a line of great Texas divorce and family law firms. To learn more about divorce and child custody in Dallas and Collin Counties, please call (214) 617-1583 to speak confidentially with a knowledgeable and compassionate member of the Connatser Family Law team.