Can I Date Other People Before My Divorce Is Finalised?

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A dating relationship refers to people who are or have been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature or with the expectation of such. It is not unusual for spouses going through a divorce to explore new connections in such a difficult period of their lives. However, it is important to know the potential implications if you do choose to date during your divorce, as sometimes the negatives can outweigh the positives, from a legal standpoint.

Financial aspect

From a legal standpoint, when disclosing your financial circumstances, you must state whether you are cohabiting with a new partner or propose to do so in the near future. The reason for this is that your financial needs could change if you are living with a new partner, and so fairness is at the forefront for both parties’ circumstances and needs. If you are living separately from your new partner but share each other’s households, this could still be viewed as living together which could ultimately affect your position financially. Once a financial settlement has been agreed by the courts, it is difficult to change it, if at all. Therefore you should carefully consider whether to move in with a new partner and/or rely on a new partner’s financial state, as it could impact on your divorce financial settlement.

Children

When children are involved, it is important to consider their welfare primarily. Dating during divorce with children can be difficult and it is often challenging to know when to tell them and what to tell them. Divorce can bring a lot of change into a child’s life as well as instability and dating could add an additional layer of insecurity and unsettlement. Any introduction of a new partner must be done sensitively. If the separation is recent and you think that it could impact your child emotionally, then it would be sensible to avoid introducing any new partner until the circumstances have settled. Children, particularly teenagers and younger children, could lash out in anger, sadness, or confusion so it is always worth considering whether the future of the relationship is certain. The repetitive exercise of introducing multiple partners to children can also add to an already unsettled situation, leaving the child more stressed and having a long-term impact on their wellbeing.

Emotional implications

It is fundamental to acknowledge how dating during a divorce can lead to emotional and financial implications simultaneously. If animosity ensues due to one party dating, then this can have a significant impact on the financial proceedings if one party becomes less cooperative. To ensure that matters can be dealt with without any emotional blockers getting in the way of a settlement and to help keep legal fees to a minimum, it may be worth holding off dating until matters have been resolved.

Psychologically, you may want to consider if dating soon after separating from your partner is the right action for you. The emotional trauma that follows from a divorce can make dating very tempting, to potentially find solace and comfort. Yet, meeting someone at your lowest is not always a positive thing. Initially, it may feel good to have a distraction, and it could ease the loneliness. However, if your new partner lets you down in any way, it could make you feel even worse than you did. Furthermore, for some people it is important to process your emotions and give yourself the time to feel upset and grieve the marriage in order for you to heal and gain emotional strength. The reason why we often feel lost once we separate with our significant other is that we may have lost a sense of self.  It is important to embark on a path of self-discovery and take the time to evaluate what went wrong in the relationship from both parties as well as discover aspects about yourself you may have lost during your marriage.  By doing this, you are avoiding the unhealthy cycle of failed relationships and may begin to find a healthy way forward towards your new chapter of life.

Anusha Patel is a Paralegal in our Brighton office.

If you would like to discuss your individual situation with one of our specialists, please contact us for a confidential, initial conversation.

 

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