3 Reasons to Wait for Your Divorce to Be Finalized Before Dating

Regardless of your family situation, when you're in the middle of finalizing divorce procedures, you may feel the urge to start seeing someone else in order to move on with your life. Despite the fact that this is a completely understandable and normal way of moving on from a difficult relationship, problems may arise if things have yet to be completed.

By Lorne J. Fine
Updated: August 11, 2016
divorce to be finalized

Often, you’ll hear advice that counsels spouses to avoid dating until the divorce is complete. This advice may be difficult to follow, especially when normal feelings of loneliness surface or you end up meeting someone who creates a spark that you haven’t felt in a while. Unfortunately, the legal system is obliged to uphold the letter of the law, which means that courts are far less interested in the spirit of the law. As a result, it’s often best to wait until things are over before beginning to date again.

1. Dating Is Easily Misconstrued as Adultery

Depending on the nature of your divorce proceedings, including the jurisdiction in which you file your motion, the legal application of the concept of adultery could end up having a huge impact on your divorce. Depending on these variables, you may be in a situation where the law allows for special considerations when adultery enters the a divorce.

If the judge believes that one partner has been unfaithful, the court may end up deciding to place more of the onus of the divorce on your behavior instead of your spouse, leading to an inordinate amount of blame pointing to you for the breakup of the relationship.

In the event this happens, probabilities dictate that you will end up having to pay more alimony or receive less spousal support than if you weren’t seen to be conducting your personal affairs in a way that may be considered adultery.

The worst case scenario tends to occur when a spouse unsuccessfully attempts to hide a dating relationship from their former partner, which is likely to create significant problems during your divorce. Even worse, email, text messages, phone calls, and all communication activities may easily be tracked and brought to the forefront, making your case look even worse in the eyes of the court.

Even if your divorce is a relatively amicable split, your ex-spouse may use this fact against you in order to make sure that their interests are protected.

2. May Increase the Cost and Length of Divorce Proceedings

Since adultery can be considered a concern in the eyes of the court, anytime someone is dating another during the proceedings of a divorce, suspicion may be raised by the other party in terms of when the relationship started, and whether or not this relationship was part of the cause of the divorce. This can lead to incredibly awkward situations for all involved, leading to additional costs and time spent arguing in the courtroom.

Your new partner may actually be called to the stand to legally testify the facts, including issues such as the first time that the both of you went on a date and the first time that sexual intercourse took place in the new dating relationship. Other revelations may be pushed to the forefront, revealing your spending habits towards your new date and the activities that the two of you partake in.

All of these complications may pop up anytime you’re dating during a divorce, even if you and your date have done everything in an honest and open manner. In legal terms, your behavior may not be seen under the same innocent light. Even holding hands with a date after going to a movie may be presented as proof of unfaithfulness in marriage, twisting something positive and normal into a negative headache.

In addition to financial penalties, if your new dating relationship is deemed to be inappropriate, the custody rights you have for your children may also be permanently affected. In this scenario, simply introducing your new date to your kids may be considered an act that is contrary to maintaining a positive atmosphere for your children.

It should be repeated that even if your children and ex-spouse are completely comfortable with their parents dating other people during the case, the divorce court may still interpret your personal behavior as something that negatively affects the happiness and growth of your children. This leads to a greater probability of restricted visiting rights and other restraints on your ability to see and parent your kids.

3. Zero Chance of Legal Repercussions After Full Separation

Considering the fact that divorce proceedings can range from simple and amicable to complex and adversarial at a moment’s notice, it’s always a good idea to avoid complications during the divorce. The more variables that are added to the case, the longer and costlier that the potential outcome will be. As such, the best reason to wait until your divorce is finalized is simply the fact that you cannot suffer legal repercussions for dating after divorce.

When you and your spouse are fully separated with monetary and filial concerns worked out to a reasonable and satisfactory solution, you’re completely free to date whomever you want, whenever you want, without having to worry about how it will affect the rest of your life.

The fact that your new partner can be dragged into court to testify against you should be enough to convince you that it’s a terrible idea, even if you’re not worried about the financial outcome or custody of kids after the divorce.

Resist the Urge to Date While Divorcing

Most people are completely understanding when it comes to dating while you’re undergoing a divorce, recognizing the simple fact that human beings need companionship, often more so when going through one of the most stressful events that a person may experience. The truth is that the legal divorce system is rarely capable of processing this type of nuance when it comes to interpersonal relationships.

As a result, the amount of trouble that you may potentially experience multiplies when you date during proceedings. Not only can your entire case be considered in a completely new and unfavorable light, but you also risk severe monetary penalties as well as a reduction in your custody rights.

If at all possible, wait until your papers are completely settled before looking to heal a wounded heart through the love of another.


Lorne J. Fine | Toronto Family LawyerLorne J. Fine B.A., LL.B. is a well-known and experienced lawyer in Toronto, Ontario whose practice is solely dedicated to the area of family and divorce law. The lawyers of Fine & Associates Professional Corporation are knowledgeable about all aspects of divorce law, including, but not limited to, child support, child custody, and property division. They pride themselves on their knowledge of the various courts in Ontario and have litigated many different cases. In every case, their focus is on their clients and they are dedicated to aggressively protecting their rights so that all matters are resolved quickly and fairly.

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May 05, 2016

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