Dating during a divorce is tricky because of how children may react and how it may look to others including the judge and lawyers involved in your divorce. You may feel emotionally ready to take on a new relationship, and technically, no one should be able to prevent you from re-entering the dating scene. But your actions could have consequences. You need to be aware of what could happen if you start dating before your divorce is finalized.
Divorcing couples may have lost all sense of love and companionship with each other months or years before actually filing for divorce, but to those outside the couple’s inner circle, the divorce may seem sudden. Dating during this time can look uncaring. Common time frames for dating tend to focus on waiting until the divorce is final. If you have children waiting for six months or sometimes a year before starting to see other people again is common These are not legal time requirements, just good practice.
If your divorce is not final, you also want to keep the dating discreet. Avoid social media posts about it (and get your date to avoid posting about it, too). Avoid flaunting the fact that you are dating. Not only can people take that the wrong way, but your previously neutral ex could become bitter and let that emotion carry over into the divorce proceedings. What may have been a smooth process could suddenly become very unfriendly.
If you have children, dating before your divorce is final could be seen as a betrayal even though you’re divorcing their other parent anyway. The children could be hostile to whomever you’re dating and start acting out, or they could start demanding to spend more time with the other parent. Yes, it’s totally possible that your kids would understand and not have a problem with it. However, you don’t know how they’ll really react until they are in that situation, and that’s a minefield for a divorcing parent. Parents also usually agree not to introduce an new significant other until they have been in a relationship for a certain period of time to make sure the children are not having new people come in and out of their lives.
One issue that many people don’t realize could hurt them is that spending money on a significant other during a divorce (and for a period of time before the divorce filed) could be construed as dissipation. Dissipation means spending or giving away money during the breakdown of the marriage that is not for a marital purpose. Generally, spending money on a significant other is dissipation. They money you can spend can be added back into your marital state and counted against your share of the marital estate. What you thought was just a nice weekend away with your new partner could end up reducing your share of the assets when the division is finalized.
Based on everything stated above, you may want to avoid dating until the divorce is final. Of course, if you happen to have really supportive kids, the divorce is amicable, your family and friends knew the divorce was coming, and so on, you could find that dating is a positive move for you.