Clients frequently ask whether it is okay for them to date during their divorce. If you are grappling with this question in your own life, here are five things to keep in mind.
- Your dating could have unintended consequences for your divorce. While California is a “no-fault” state, dating while your divorce is pending could lead to some unintended consequences when it comes to property division and child custody. For instance, your spouse may claim that you are exercising poor judgment in relation to the children or that the children are not safe with your new boyfriend or girlfriend. This could compromise your custody rights. Even if you don’t have children, once your spouse learns of the new relationship, he or she may become very upset and harder to reason with as you divide up your assets and debts, which will likely increase the cost of your divorce.
- Your children need time to adjust. If you do decide to date, conduct yourself with the utmost discretion and delay introducing your new partner as long as possible. Your children are likely still reeling from the loss of their parents’ relationship and don’t need any additional stress in their lives.
- You could be unknowingly involving your new partner in your divorce. If your new partner has information that is relevant to your divorce proceedings, they could be subpoenaed for a deposition or testimony at trial.
- Spousal support. In California, we have a rebuttable presumption that a supported spouse who is cohabitating with a member of the opposite sex has a decreased need for spousal support. Accordingly, if you do decide to move in with your new partner, you could be jeopardizing your right to continue receiving spousal support from your spouse at the current level.
In sum, no one is saying that you shouldn’t date during your divorce. However, I encourage you to take it slow and consider all of the potential consequences before embarking on a new relationship. You may also want to consider consulting with your family law attorney, a child development specialist, or your own individual therapist, for more advice.
If you are going through a Divorce San Mateo County please contact us to assist you.
By Kimberly A. Madigan of Madigan & Lewis, LLP