Legal Implications of Dating During a Divorce
June 9, 2022
If you’re in the process of getting a divorce, you may decide it’s time to embark on a new relationship, so you start dating someone new. While this may fill an emotional need, dating during divorce proceedings can have consequences that can haunt you going forward.
Not only will dating have an adverse effect on the spouse you’re leaving, who may well use it as a revenge motive, but it also can have both practical and legal consequences, especially if there are children involved.
The judge presiding over your divorce may view you in a negative light that could factor into any decisions regarding alimony, division of property, child custody, and parenting rights. In short, dating before a divorce is finalized can cost you not only financially but also in the structure of your life going forward.
If you’re divorcing or considering divorce in Towson, Maryland, contact Lebovitz Law LLC for experienced and compassionate legal counsel. Maryland is not a simple “no-fault” divorce state, and your actions can have costly consequences. The family law attorney at Lebovitz Law LLC proudly serves clients throughout Baltimore County and in York, Pennsylvania.
Maryland’s Divorce Laws
In Maryland, there is no simple form where you can assert “irreconcilable differences” and then end your marriage in a straightforward fashion. The closest parallel to this is Maryland’s standard that living apart for one year without sexual interaction between the spouses can constitute “mutual consent” to a divorce.
Other grounds for divorce include adultery, desertion, cruelty and excessively vicious conduct, imprisonment for a crime, and insanity.
Dating and Divorce
One partner may look upon dating before a divorce is finalized as a way to fill an emotional or social void, but the other partner certainly isn’t going to view it that way. The act of dating may create tension with the other spouse, which could lead to that spouse feeling slighted or cheated and thus might stir up the sensation of “How do I get even?”
Certainly, if your goal is an uncontested divorce – one that is decided between the two spouses and presented to the court for approval – the act of dating by one spouse could render the whole process of mutually agreeing on the details of the divorce nearly impossible.
Also, note above that adultery is one of the legal justifications for divorce. If you’re dating, the other spouse can certainly suspect adultery, as can the judge presiding over the case as well. If allegations of adultery come into the picture, that could affect decisions not only by the spurned spouse but also by the presiding judge.
Adultery allegations could certainly become a factor in deciding on spousal support, and it also could play a part in issues of custody and parenting rights. When it comes to children, the courts always consider what is in their “best interests,” and if one spouse is off with a paramour, that could have an unwanted effect on the children, who could feel abandoned or even unloved.
The behavior and lifestyle of the dating partner could also factor in. What if that person is into liquor, drugs, or has a violent background? Do you want children visiting a parent whose lifestyle is ungrounded because of their new love interest?
Even the division of property could be affected. If one partner is off squandering money on a fling, that could be viewed as jeopardizing the finances of both spouses, especially if debts are being run-up in the process.
In a worst-case scenario, the spurned spouse could even sue the other spouse’s paramour for alienation of affection. The boyfriend/girlfriend would thus take center stage in the divorce proceedings.
Experienced Guidance You Can Trust
When it comes to divorce, any thought of dating or starting a new relationship should be put on hold for emotional, practical, and legal reasons. If, on the other hand, you suspect that your spouse is seeing someone else, you should consult with your attorney about your best options.
If you’re considering or already involved in a divorce in or around Towson, Maryland, or anywhere in Baltimore County, contact Lebovitz Law LLC. Each divorce presents its own unique circumstances and challenges, and the attorney at Lebovitz Law LLC will place your rights and interests foremost in helping you navigate the process.