While there is no legal reason why you can’t start dating before your divorce is final, it’s still a grey area. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Dating before your divorce is finalized can seriously affect you legally and financially.
- It can increase the cost and stress of the divorce trial. Parading someone new around has the potential to create suspicion that the relationship started before the marriage ended, enrage your ex, and may even subject your friend to be deposed by lawyers for details regarding your association. Also, if your spouse is not seeking a fault-based divorce, a new relationship can impact the progress of settlement and be seen as a tremendous distraction. Your spouse might feel betrayed or replaced and may be less likely to want to engage in settlement discussions, motivated by revenge, or otherwise not want to be part of an out-of-court resolution. If you’re hoping for a civil split, do what it takes to stay amicable.
- It can affect your settlement. If you’re eligible for spousal support, in some cases, this can be done in installments or one lump sum. If you’re already in another relationship, your ex may option for payments, which end the moment you move in with someone else.
- Dating during divorce complicates co-parenting agreements. Splitting up is traumatic enough, but now your partner is anxious about who this new person is that you’re hanging out with, and how they will affect your children.
- Your kids need you now. Dating takes a lot of time and energy. Right now, your kids are going through dramatic adjustments, and they need you more than ever. Even if they seem "fine," they're not.
- You’re probably not ready to date. After the hell you’ve been through - the neglect, the emotional roller coaster - of course, you want to feel attractive and wanted again. That’s only natural. But running out to find someone as an ego boost, to hide the pain of your divorce, or jumping into a rebound relationship to not be alone is not only a bad call, it’s selfish.
Until you can properly grieve for your lost marriage, you’ll still have unresolved issues that you’ll take into the next relationship. You also need to understand the part you played in the breakup. No one person is to blame.
Until you can forgive your spouse and yourself and move past the hurt and anger, you aren't ready to start a fresh, new relationship. You’ll carry the ill feelings from your past marriage and likely repeat your mistakes.
As difficult as it is, this is your time. It’s time you can take for yourself to reflect, heal, get help, find yourself, do what you love, put yourself first, and get back on your feet. Eventually, there will be someone else to put first again, so enjoy yourself right now.