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
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 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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