Can I date before my divorce is final? Should I?

Once you decide you want a “new life”, you want that new life to start as soon as possible. Indeed, clients often ask whether it is okay to start dating while their divorce is pending. The short answer is yes. Perhaps the better question is, however, whether you should.

I am not suggesting that if you are separated you need to be a shut-in.

It is certainly okay to “have coffee” or to go out on a date when your kids are with your soon-to-be ex. Enjoy yourself. Remember to keep your dating life off of social media and be discreet.

Consider how your dating or new relationship will impact your children. Are they ready to know you are dating? If so, are they ready to meet your new friend? It is generally a good idea to keep your children out of your dating life until your new relationship is established and lasting.

Also consider how your dating will impact your relationship with your ex. If you start dating soon after the separation, your ex may believe the relationship started before the separation. This can have a negative impact on your ability to resolve issues with your ex. If they are jealous, hurt and/or angry, it will hamper your attempts to coparent and resolve financial issues. Again, discretion is important. Making out like a couple of teenagers at a soccer game in front of your ex is not going to make any aspect of your divorce easier.

Another consideration is whether you are ready to date.

Sometimes the urge to date comes from your desire not be alone or to get back at your ex. If you cannot go on a date without complaining about your ex, perhaps you are not ready. You may get more out of girls’ nights or guys’ nights and reconnecting with your single self than dating when you are not ready.

Remember your priorities. If you put your new relationship before your relationship with your children or your responsibilities to your family, no one benefits. Your children will be hurt and it may be challenging to bring them back into the fold.

If you are dating someone, it is important to be honest with your attorney and the court.

Lying about a relationship can be more detrimental than having the relationship in the first place.

Every circumstance is different. If you want to start dating, get legal advice first so you understand how the legal implications apply to your particular case.  Here is how to get started. Also, read about what to expect at an initial consultation.

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