Not only can divorce be a stressful and hotly contested process, it can also be a lonely one. A new relationship can help you feel loved, appreciated, and sought after for the first time in years, taking your mind off the misery of a failed marriage.
But as much as you might believe you are ready to move on, dating during divorce can have both legal and financial consequences. In addition, jumping into a new romance might not be the best thing for your emotional health.
Common reasons why dating during divorce is a bad idea include:
- Heated divorce proceedings – If your soon-to-be-ex-spouse finds out about your new flame, he/she might become extremely jealous, resulting in a more challenging divorce. The other party could become more uncooperative, leading to more arguments, less compromises, and a longer time to make the divorce more costly in the end.
- Legal consequences – California is a no-fault divorce state, meaning adultery and any other wrongdoing cannot be held against a spouse in court. Even if you did not cheat on your spouse, dating during divorce could have several legal ramifications. For example, if you are spending marital funds on dinners, trips, or other expenses related to your new relationship, your spouse could obtain more assets when it comes to property division. If you end up living with a new partner—known as cohabitation—you could lose the right to spousal support.
- Your children need you – Going through a divorce is hard on everyone in the family, especially the kids. While juggling your full-time job and going through the divorce proceedings, you need to dedicate a significant portion of your time to your children, who are dealing with their own emotions about divorce and adjusting to a new life. A new relationship requires an ample amount of time as well, which means your kids could receive less time and attention. Furthermore, this might be enough reason for the other parent to receive primary custody of the children.
- Your new partner will receive unwanted attention – Your new partner could be thrown right in the middle of your divorce, which can put a significant damper on the relationship. For example, any person who has frequent contact with your kids could be subject to a custody investigation. On the other hand, if your new partner has any drug crime, sex crime, or domestic violence charges on his/her record, that could also affect your divorce.
While it is alright to find time for enjoyment, you should avoid the dating scene until after your divorce is over.