“If you date as soon as you’re separated, will it legally affect the outcome of your divorce in any way?”
The reality is that, legally, it is all right to date as soon as you are separated, should you be so inclined. The Divorce Act was specifically drafted to avoid being fault-based. Therefore, the fact that either party is dating someone after separation should not have any effect on the outcome of your legal proceedings.
That would be the strict legal interpretation. However, in practice, should you be hoping to arrive at an amicable resolution with your spouse by way of a separation agreement or minimize the acrimony involved in matrimonial litigation, dating as soon as you are separated may not be the best strategy.
Immediately dating post-separation may be construed negatively by the other spouse and any children of the marriage. This will certainly impact upon your relationship with your spouse and children and may make your divorce or separation proceeding that much more difficult.
The legal reality is that dating immediately after your separation may not affect your divorce, but the practical reality is that you should probably hold off on dating and try to resolve the issues arising from your divorce first.
Karina V. Sacca is a lawyer with the firm of Sheridan, Ippolito & Sacca. She appears regularly at the Ontario Court of Justice and Superior Court of Justice; she is also a panel lawyer for the Office of the Children’s Lawyer representing children in child-welfare matters. Ms. Sacca is fluent in Spanish.