By the time someone files for divorce, the relationship with his or her spouse may have been over for quite some time. The divorce itself may seem like little more than a formality to end the marriage.
But no matter how long spouses have been separated, estranged or otherwise disengaged, moving on and dating new people during the divorce process can be thorny. Below are some guidelines to consider when it comes to dating someone while you are navigating a divorce.
What to do if you want to start dating
Understand that if you start dating during a divorce, your decision can affect your soon-to-be-ex as well as your children. Your ex may be angry, sad, jealous or bitter. Your children can be confused and upset at the new person in your life.
As such, do be respectful and sensitive. Consider what you say on social media, in front of your children and to your friends. Doing so can avoid putting anyone in an awkward position.
If your children are struggling with the divorce, spend time with them alone (without the new partner) and focus on doing what is best for them. In fact, as this article recommends, keeping your dating life completely separate from your kids at first can be wise.
What to avoid if you start dating during divorce
To prevent your dating life from disrupting the divorce, consider avoiding some potentially costly mistakes. For instance, don’t engage in unsafe or questionable behavior when dating. Doing so could affect how judges and others involved in the process view your priorities and decision-making capabilities.
You might also want to avoid moving in with your new partner. This living arrangement could affect matters, including child custody and spousal support.
Finally, don’t expect everyone to agree with your decision to start dating. Your friends and family may not think that getting into a new relationship before your divorce is final is wise if it may not be in your best interests.
Connecting with a new person after ending a marriage can be a wonderful experience. However, when it happens during the divorce, it can cause problems and disputes. Appreciating this and taking steps to avoid making the situation more complicated than it already is can help you protect yourself and your life after divorce.