Dating During Divorce: Top 3 Don’ts of Starting Over
So you're ready to start over, or think you are, or maybe you're not sure if you can. Moving on can be both scary and exciting. Encouragement from supportive friends and family can make dating seem like the next logical thing to do when a couple splits, but there are more than a few "don'ts" to keep in mind. From the legal perspective to the psychological concerns, there are a lot of factors to sort through when it comes to dating during divorce.
First, a very important DO: be cautious about getting involved with someone new. For some clients, divorce is difficult time that presents many challenges to work through. Leaning on a new relationship just to cope can be emotionally draining for both parties when the timing isn't right.
Don't No. 1: Don't prematurely announce the relationship or assume that mutual friends will keep it quiet.
Both marriage and divorce are complicated - retaining a level of sensitivity will help both parties amicably move on. News of a new relationship could complicate the situation, and is not worth it if there have only been a few dates. Accusations of infidelity during the marriage can arise. The party paying spousal support may also find cause to stop making payments based upon the new relationship. Accusations of cohabitation can derail monthly spousal support entitlement. Cohabitation can be a bar to alimony or support pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. § 3701. A case that presents a great example of dating during divorce and cohabitation is Moran v. Moran, 839 A.2d 1091, (Pa. Super 2003). Wife was denied alimony because her new relationship was so interdependent, that the Court determined she was no longer entitled to maintenance payments. The couple had even split up and it still interfered with her entitlements to payments. Early news of a new relationship may bring up unnecessary accusations or legal proceedings.It is also a "don't" to expect that the ex spouse will never hear about it from mutual friends or through social media. Friends may choose to take sides and present the new relationship regardless of personal efforts to keep it quiet.
Don't No. 2: Don't take new introductions lightly
Divorce has a dramatic impact on children in many ways that continue to be studied and examined. The laws and practice of family law attempt to accommodate and focus on the well being of children during this process. Let that always be the focus when dating during divorce - having a new man or woman introduced to children should be decided with great care. This is a new person that is coming into their lives when everything is turned upside down. A child can become attached to that person and if it doesn't work out, creates another loss for the child to endure.
Don't No. 3: Don't assume your new partner is not divorced
For those who are reentering the dating world, it is not uncommon to find someone that is going through the same process. Divorce proceedings can take years to conclude in some cases; assuming that your new partner is out of the woods may be an emotional and financial mistake. Before all economic claims are resolved, entangling money in joint accounts and making large purchases is risky for both parties. Also, both parties may be in very complex emotional states with their ex that could present challenges to the new relationship.
If you are considering dating during divorce, be sure to not only consider the above tips but to focus on taking care of yourself. Introspection goes a long way during challenging times. For those considering filing for divorce, consult with an experienced Bucks County divorce lawyer who can review the facts of your unique case and walk you through the process. Call (215) 693-6191 to schedule a consultation or feel free to complete the form on the left of this page.