When dealing with clients, the topic of dating during a divorce comes up frequently. Usually, clients will want to know if it’s okay for them to date during their divorce, or they’ll want to know what to do when they find out their spouse has moved on and they’re still legally married.
For the purposes of this article, we’re going to assume your spouse has started dating during the divorce and now you’re wondering what you should do, if anything. “Is their dating moral? Can you use it against them in the divorce? Is it even legal?” are the types of questions and concerns that our clients typically have when they find out their ex is dating and they’re still married. Read on as we shed light on this touchy subject.
The Courts Aren’t All That Concerned
Every state handles a spouse dating during a divorce differently. In some states, it’s highly frowned upon and considered “adultery.” If a spouse is dating outside the marriage in such a state, they may lose all rights to spousal support if the judge finds out about the extra-marital relationship, that is assuming the spouse was intimate with someone who is not their spouse.
Like California, New York is forward thinking in its attitude toward dating during divorce. In other words, judges aren’t that concerned with a spouse dating unless that spouse is spending marital assets on their boyfriend or girlfriend, or they’re endangering their children’s safety by carrying on with the extra-marital relationship (e.g. the parent leaves the children unattended for long periods of time).
What do you do if you learn your spouse is dating? Here’s our advice to clients in this situation:
- Consider talking to your spouse about it in a calm and polite manner.
- Consider dating yourself and reaching an agreement with your spouse about how you’re both going to date discreetly.
- If you’re hurt or jealous that your spouse has moved on, try to distract yourself and don’t let those emotions influence your divorce-related decisions. You need a clear head since your choices now will have long-term, irreversible effects.
- Behave like an adult and treat your spouse like anyone else you would in a regular business deal. Divorce is business; try to keep the emotions out of it.
- Avoid discussing your spouse’s dating on social media.
- Ask your spouse not to introduce your dates to your children until the divorce is final and they’re in a committed relationship.
- Watch out for your spouse spending marital assets on dates or new partners and if you suspect this is happening, contact your divorce attorney at once.
If you’re interested in dating during your divorce, we recommend reading, “Dating During a Divorce: Is it Okay?” If you’re looking for a divorce attorney, contact Jason M. Barbara & Associates, P.C. for a free case evaluation.