The overlap. You know what I’m referring to. The thing that people do when they are dating one person while they are technically still married to another. And, to be clear, we are not talking about cheating. When you are in the midst of a divorce, are you even allowed to freely date or are there consequences to your case? Still, there are plenty of other considerations:
1. Is there a chance of reconciliation? If you date during a separation (whether it’s a formal legal separation or you are just living apart) you are sending the message to the other person that you are done. So, ask yourself – are you really done? And if you think you can hide your dating in secret…..c’mon, that never works.
2. Do you tell the kids? When there are children in the mix they generally become priority number one. The best course of action is to talk to your kids about dating before you actually start. This would be a challenging hurdle even if the ink was dry on the divorce papers. Contemplate whether you will tell your kids you are dating, whether your spouse will, and what the impact of them knowing you have moved on will be. As always, be honest with your children.
3. Will dating hurt the dissolution process? The divorce process consists of several smaller, albeit significant, legal issues such as, child custody, alimony, and division of assets. If you are fortunate, you and your soon-to-be-former spouse are amicable during negotiations; maybe even friendly. Well, that could quickly change if one spouse becomes upset the other is dating. Even if it is not a rational reaction, you may end up suffering when the process turns hostile.
4. Do you tell your dates you are technically still married? Yes, yes, and YES. The last thing you need is drama from another person in your life, right? Let’s face it. Divorce is drama. Dating can be a fun distraction but you should treat this new person to the same candor you give your family members.
5. Does your new flame have a past? If you have children with your current spouse, the new love of your life will be a consideration in defining the new parenting plan. If your significant other has had legal trouble of any kind, rest assured that your spouse will find out (especially if he or she has an attorney). And rest assured it will be made an issue. Court are very protective of children, and you may have to make a choice to pursue your reformed ex-con or keep time with your children.
The bottom line is, do not make your life more difficult than it has to be during the divorce process. Tell everyone involved what you want, what your intentions are and what you are doing (minus the oversharing kids and exes definitely don’t want to hear). And remember, your dating life will resume soon enough….what’s the rush?
Pacific Northwest Family Law has skilled and experienced divorce attorneys. To discuss divorce, custody, alimony or adoption with one today, why not start off with a consult? Schedule an appointment at Pacific Northwest Family Law by calling 360-926-9112.