If you’re going through a divorce in California, you may wonder if it’s okay to start dating again before your divorce is finalized. It may be tempting to jump into a new relationship before your marriage is officially dissolved, especially if there was a long separation before filing for divorce or the process is taking longer than expected.
Dating and divorce don’t usually mix well and can be emotionally taxing for all parties involved. Before swiping on a dating app, you need to consider the reasons why dating while going through a divorce may not be the best idea.
If you have questions about how dating might affect your divorce, call the California divorce attorneys at Seabrook Law Offices at (408) 560-4487 to schedule your consultation with one of our compassionate and experienced attorneys.
California Is a No-Fault State
California is a no-fault state, meaning the court will not consider marital misconduct (such as dating before your divorce is finalized) when determining the division of marital property or awarding spousal support.
Though dating someone new while going through a divorce may or may not impact your divorce proceedings, you need to consider if it’s worth the risk. If you’re considering starting a new relationship, it’s best to speak with your California divorce attorney first, especially if you have children.
Timing Is Everything
The timing of when you start dating can have a significant impact on your divorce case. For example, the news of you dating someone else may not be well received by your spouse and could cause further distress and anger, making it more challenging to settle the divorce amicably. Your spouse may want to make the process as difficult as possible for you and prolong your divorce case.
Dating and Spousal Support
The court will consider various factors regarding spousal support to determine if it’s appropriate. However, the fact you started dating during the divorce process is not typically a factor that the court will consider.
The court’s primary focus will be on the financial needs of each spouse and their ability to provide that support. Although, it’s worth noting that if you decide to move in with a new partner, the court may consider that when evaluating the appropriateness and amount of alimony.
Child Custody and Co-Parenting May Be More Difficult
In California, child custody is determined based on the child’s best interests. If your spouse argues that your new relationship is not in the child’s best interests, the court may consider this when determining custody arrangements.
For example, suppose your new partner has a history of alcohol addiction. In that case, it may be seen as detrimental to your child’s well-being, which could negatively impact your chances of getting custody.
It’s also understandable that if your spouse is upset or angry about your dating someone else, they may be less willing to co-parent and cooperatively share custody. They may also be more resistant to negotiating the parenting plan and may not be as flexible with the schedule. Consider these potential challenges if you decide to date before your divorce is final.
Dating Too Soon Can Be Hard on Your Children
Going through a divorce can be incredibly difficult for all parties involved, especially for your children. Introducing a new partner during this time can overwhelm them and cause unnecessary stress. It’s critical to remember that your children need your attention and time, and dating or being with a new partner can take away from that.
Remember that your child’s emotional well-being is delicate at this point. They need to be your first priority and deserve all the support and care you can give them.
Dating and Property Division
California is a community property state, meaning your marital property will be divided equally between you and your spouse. Dating while going through a divorce can potentially affect property division if your spouse argues that assets were transferred or dissipated in anticipation of the divorce or to prevent the assets from being considered in the division of property. (Dissipation is defined as using an asset for an illegal or inequitable purpose, such as a spouse’s use of community property for personal benefit when a divorce is imminent.)
For example, if you give any marital assets to your new partner before or during your divorce, the court may consider those assets to be marital property and include them in the division of property.
Additionally, if the court determines you transferred or dissipated those assets with the intent to defraud your spouse or to prevent them from being considered in the division of property, it may award a greater share of the remaining assets to your spouse.
To protect your interests and to avoid any accusations of wrongdoing, consult with your Santa Clara divorce lawyer if you decide to date and give any assets to your new partner before your divorce is finalized.
Healing and Emotions
Divorce can be a challenging and emotional journey, similar to the stages of grief. Take the time to process your feelings and work through the stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
Starting a new relationship before working through the healing process can hinder your emotional healing and slow down the process of moving on. Allow yourself the time to heal so you can approach a new relationship with a clear mind and less emotional baggage.
Consider the Feelings of the Person You’re Dating
Going through a divorce can be challenging for anyone, and it’s natural for the stress, anger, and sadness you may feel to affect those around you, including someone you may be dating. It’s not fair to expect someone to be fully invested in a relationship while you are going through such a difficult time.
Instead, it’s better to turn to friends, family, support groups, or therapists for emotional support. Additionally, dating someone new during your divorce can also put them in an uncomfortable position, as they may be questioned by your spouse or be involved in your legal proceedings, which can be detrimental to the romance and intimacy of your new relationship.
Contact the California Divorce Attorneys at Seabrook Law Offices
Dating before your divorce is finalized can cause challenges you may not have considered. If you’ve been searching online for “divorce lawyers near me” because you need legal advice about how dating might impact your divorce case, we are here to help.
Our compassionate and experienced Santa Clara County divorce lawyers at Seabrook Law Offices are here to answer any questions you may have. Talk to us first if you want to begin a new relationship before your divorce is finalized, especially If you have children.
Call us at (408) 560-4487 or fill out our confidential online form to schedule your consultation. We are here to help you emotionally and legally as you navigate this difficult time. For your convenience, we have locations in San Jose and Fremont.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.