Dating During Divorce: Is It Allowable?

During your divorce, you may feel ready to date again and may consider putting yourself back out there. After all, your marriage is over and you are now single. But there are potential risks when it comes to dating during a divorce.

While when and whether you start dating again is up to you, you should understand the potential consequences of dating before your divorce is final. This blog post will explain why it is important to consult with an attorney before embarking on a relationship while in the process of getting divorced.

Can You Date Before Your Divorce Is Final?

In some states, adultery is still considered grounds for divorce and can be used as evidence in certain cases. However, Alabama is a no-fault divorce state, which means that you do not have to include grounds (or a reason) for your divorce. That also means that even if you have fault-based reasons for divorce, including infidelity, you cannot file based on those issues.

In Alabama, couples can only select either incompatibility or irretrievable breakdown as a reason for their divorce. If either party dates, that does not impact how you file but it can affect your child custody, alimony, and property division determinations.

The Consequences of Dating During Divorce

Even though you can date during your divorce, having a new partner or dating can affect certain determinations. If the court believes that one spouse is engaging in adulterous behavior, it could lead to the other spouse receiving more support or assets than they would have otherwise received. Additionally, if children are involved, the court may take into consideration whether one parent has been engaged in inappropriate behavior and use that as a factor in determining custody arrangements.

Furthermore, engaging in relationships while getting divorced could have an emotional toll on everyone involved—the spouses as well as any potential partners or children from those relationships. It is important to remember that divorces are often emotionally charged situations and this could affect how any new relationships proceed or even whether they happen at all.

Moreover, having another relationship while going through a divorce may complicate the legal proceedings and lead to additional stressors for everyone involved. It’s best to wait until after your divorce has been finalized before embarking on new relationships.

If you have children with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, dating during the divorce process could negatively impact your custody case. If the judge presiding over your case believes that dating is impacting your ability to co-parent effectively, they may limit or even deny your custodial rights altogether. This could mean that you would have limited access to your children or no access at all.

When it comes to property division and alimony payments, judges will consider any changes in lifestyle when deciding how much money each spouse should receive. That means that if you start spending more money on dates with someone else during the divorce proceedings, it could influence how much alimony—if any—you receive from your soon-to-be ex-spouse.

Additionally, if the court believes one spouse is hiding assets from the other by using them to fund a new relationship or lifestyle, they may order an investigation into their finances and divide any discovered assets accordingly. The other party may also try to influence the property division process by claiming you have wastefully dissipated assets while dating.

Wasteful dissipation of marital property occurs when either spouse uses marital funds or assets during or after the marriage wastefully. If either spouse intentionally wastes marital assets, the court may award the other party a more favorable division of marital assets. Common acts that fall under wasteful dissipation include using funds for:

  • Gambling
  • Substance abuse issues
  • Affairs
  • Extravagant gifts, travel, or vacations

Consult with Our Attorney

Dating during divorce can be risky business but ultimately it’s up to each individual person as to whether or not they want to engage in such activities. It's always best practice though for anyone facing or considering a divorce proceeding involving another party should inform their attorney about any new partners or their plans to start dating again. They can inform you about the potential pitfalls concerning your specific case and understanding these implications beforehand can help protect yourself from any unnecessary hardships later.

Contact Shaw Family Law online or via phone (205) 259-7650 to schedule a consultation and discuss your case with our divorce attorney.