Is it Okay to Date During a Divorce?

Cropped shot of a young woman smiling while on a date at a restaurant

Many soon-to-be divorcees often ask their divorce attorney, “Am I able to date before my divorce is final?” Although the logical answer should be that “it isn’t a good idea until you’re officially divorced,” life just isn’t that simple.

Divorce is rarely an easy decision to make, and the process can leave you feeling lonely, sad, and in need of companionship, and that’s completely natural. If you decide you can’t wait to get your dating life up and running again, we have a few guidelines to help you navigate what’s okay and what’s not for dating through your divorce:

The Don’ts of Dating During Divorce

DON’T consider dating until you are physically separated from your spouse.

If you start dating other people while you are still living in the same residence with your spouse, it often creates an extremely hostile living situation that is a recipe for disaster and could be used against you in court. Not only will a hostile situation make your divorce negotiations more difficult and often more expensive, dating other people while still living with your spouse can lead to domestic violence issues and negatively impact your custodial rights to your children.  

DON’T openly date. 

Dating openly during divorce proceedings could anger your future ex-spouse and lead them to change their mind about prior verbal agreements or otherwise make ongoing settlement negotiations more difficult. It’s also possible the opposing counsel will then try and claim you were having an affair during your marriage. In certain circumstances, your new romantic partner could even be called to testify about your relationship in court. In short, if you’re going to start dating while your divorce is still pending, be very discreet about it.

DON’T start living with your new partner while your divorce is pending.

If you do start dating other people while your divorce is pending, do not jump into a serious relationship and begin living with that person before your divorce is finalized.  Although your feelings for this new person may be strong, and it may make financial sense depending upon your circumstances, it is assuredly a very bad idea to begin living with your new partner while your divorce is still pending.  Abruptly starting to live with a new partner while your divorce is pending will not only sabotage any claims you may have for alimony, it will also be viewed by the court as a poor parental judgment and likely harm your custodial rights.

The Do’s of Dating During Divorce

DO seek support from others. 

If support and someone to talk to is your main reason for seeking a romantic relationship, there are other options. First, you can reach out to family, friends, and loved ones to speak and spend time with. You can also research local support groups in and around your area to connect with others who have or are currently experiencing a divorce, just like you.

DO be honest with potential romantic partners.

If you meet someone you are interested in starting a romantic relationship with, it’s crucial that you are honest with them about your current situation and why it isn’t a good idea to move forward with a serious relationship until your divorce is final.

DO be careful around your kids. 

If you have someone you’re starting to build a romantic connection with, remember that what you say and do in front of your kids will stick with them. This is likely a difficult and fragile time for your children as well, so be careful talking about or bringing new people around them. 

Divorce Lawyer in Clinton, NJ

When going through a divorce, you need an experienced and knowledgeable attorney on your side to guide you through the process. The attorneys at the Law Office of Blake W. Rush have more than 16 years representing spouses in both amicable and contested divorces throughout New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania. 

Give us a call at (903) 713-9800 or visit our website to contact us and learn more about how we can help you.