In and of itself, dating during a divorce is not necessarily a problem. Both spouses understand the marriage is ending. Your new partner may be a positive support for you through an otherwise stressful process. It’s not “wrong”, at least by today’s standards. And even if it were, Judges are not to use fault in their divorce decisions in Minnesota.
However, dating while a divorce is pending may cause problems. Below are some pitfalls to be aware of. For these reasons, it is usually best practice to avoid dating during a divorce.
However, if you do decide to date you should inform your attorney, if you have retained one. He or she can discuss possible consequences based on your particular situation. You may have other concerns not covered here.
Keep the New Partner Away from the Home when Living Together
This may seem obvious, but this occasionally happens. If you’re still living together with your spouse during a divorce, your new partner should not be spending time at the home.
This is insulting to your spouse and may reflect badly on your character. It also may agitate your spouse. This may make settlement more difficult if your spouse is thinking emotionally.
Also, it invites conflict in the home. This could lead to order for protection or criminal situations at worst. It also is never good, if children are involved, to expose them to conflict.
Keep the New Partner Away from Your Kids
Going through a divorce can be hard enough for kids. They’re losing one of their parent’s presence at any given time. They are also keenly aware of parental conflict.
Adding a new partner during this process can be confusing to your children. It may also upset them, harming your relationship with them.
Lastly, it may be evidence that you’re putting your new relationship ahead of your children’s welfare. This may reflect negatively on you and your case if custody of the children is evaluated later.
Dating During a Divorce may make it Worse
I referenced this earlier, however it deserves elaboration. Dating during a divorce can inadvertently make the divorce process much worse. New partners can trigger strong negative emotional reactions from your spouse. It sends the message you’ve effectively replaced them.
This can be a big problem when the divorce is still pending. Your spouse still has some control over you, albeit indirectly. He or she can lengthen the divorce process, take more extreme and adverse positions, and refuse to settle. The positions will often not be logical. Instead, they’re being fueled by the negative emotions. However, it is often within his or her rights to do, which makes it difficult to stop legally.
In my experience these problems can become amplified in divorces with children. Divorcing parents can be extraordinarily sensitive, for right or wrong, to the possibility of the new partner being around the children.
All together, it’s usually a good idea to avoid dating during a divorce. It’s usually better to wait until the divorce is done and everything is settled.
For other divorce or family law questions, please consult the list to the left or the FAQ page. If you’re interested in retaining an attorney to help you, please feel free to contact my office for a consultation using the contact information on the left or the contact form on the Majeski Law home page. For Court Rules, check here.