Can You Date While Getting A Divorce?
Some people take a significant period of time after a divorce before they start thinking about dating again. Others, though, are eager to get back into another romantic relationship. When you start dating again, if ever, is a very personal decision and one that only you can make. However, if you do want to start dating again, the timing of it is very important to any ongoing divorce case.
Do Not Date Until You Separate
Pennsylvania is one of many states that still recognizes legal separations. In fact, in the Commonwealth, you must legally separate for one year before you can get divorced. Until you are legally separated from your spouse, you should refrain from dating anyone. You are still considered legally married until you obtain a formal separation and so, if you date, it could be considered adultery. That can have a negative impact on property division proceedings, alimony decisions, and even child custody. The court will not consider it adultery if you date during the separation.
Impact on Alimony
Adultery is not a crime in Pennsylvania, but the civil divorce courts do take the issue very seriously. If you start dating while your divorce case is ongoing, and you spend marital funds on the relationship, it could have an impact on alimony proceedings.
For example, you may still have a joint bank account with your spouse while you are separated and use it to pay for dinners or buy gifts during the new romantic relationship. The court may award your spouse more in alimony to compensate for the lost marital funds. On the other hand, if you would have received alimony but start dating, a judge may think you have other financial support and so, there is no need for alimony.
Child Custody Issues
There are times when a new relationship could impact child custody issues. For example, if your new partner has substance abuse issues or a criminal history, a judge may determine it is not in the child’s best interests to be exposed to the new partner. As such, the court may not award you as much time with your child as they would have otherwise.
Keep it Quiet
You do not have to keep a new relationship a secret if it did not start until you were legally separated. However, it is best to try and keep the new partnership quiet. Constantly posting pictures of your new partner onto social media, or regularly speaking about your adoration for the new person in your life in front of your ex may only make them feel resentful. When that is the case, they may purposely draw out the divorce process, which will also make it much costlier.
Our Media Divorce Attorney Can Answer All of Your Questions
You will have a lot of questions during the divorce process. At Barbara Flum Stein & Associates, our Media divorce lawyer can answer them all and advise you on how to best protect your rights. Call us now at 610-565-6100 or reach out to us online to schedule a consultation with our skilled attorney.