If you were faithful during your marriage, waiting a few weeks or months more to date after your divorce won’t make much of a difference. That small amount of self-discipline right now can save you a lot of hassle and trouble down the road.
However, if you are feeling tempted to date before your divorce is final, here’s what you need to know.
It May Cost You
Dating behaviors often come under the microscope when it comes to property division and spousal support in a divorce. Any money you used from the marital pot to buy gifts or pay for anything for your new partner might have to be repaid when it comes time to divide the assets of the marriage. If you are unclear about the smart spending rules when you are divorcing, speak to your family law attorney for help.
It Might Cause Negotiations to Stall
Divorces laws these days are not as punishing as they used to be. You are not going to lose child support, spousal support or child custody just because you dated before your divorce was finalized, especially in a “no-fault” state like New Mexico. However, when you date during the divorce, you can spark the need for “revenge” and anger in your spouse that could have been avoided otherwise.
The least expensive, least painful and fastest divorces are the ones in which the spouses can reach agreements in a relatively short period of time and settle everything outside of the courtroom. But once a person in the divorce gets very angry, reasonable negotiation and common sense can go right out the window. A contested divorce can drag out for a long period of time, sometimes until a party runs out of money or just gives in out of exhaustion and frustration. If you have children, a more acrimonious divorce will have a serious impact on them and their well-being, too.
To make your divorce go as smoothly and quickly as possible, you will need to stay on the best possible working terms with your soon-to-be former spouse. Some self-discipline now can make for faster divorce, a settlement you can live with and a smoother start to your new post-divorce life.
It Could Have an Impact on Child Visitation and Custody Matters
Whether it is fair or not, dating before your divorce is final can cause issues related to custody, visitation and child care. The primary deciding factor in these areas is what is best for the child, and unfortunately, dating while divorcing can raise questions about how you are prioritizing their interests.
In particular, your spouse may question whether you are taking time away from the kids by dating, whether you are meeting your children’s physical and emotional needs, and whether the people you are dating could pose a risk to the children. Of course, all of your answers to these questions can be an easy “No,” but you are still going to be put in the uncomfortable position of having to defend your actions and behavior in court.
Of course, you won’t face jail time or fines for the simple act of dating before your divorce is final. However, just because this is the case, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for you to do so. A big factor in how smoothly your divorce will become is your spouse’s willingness to compromise and negotiate, and this can be harmed if you begin to date before the ink is dry on your divorce papers. Rather than risk your spouse’s spirit of cooperation, it’s usually wise to wait to date until after your divorce is over.