“Can I date during my divorce?” is a question we get a lot from our clients and understandably so. If you have the same question, you’re definitely not alone. Maybe you’ve been living in a hollow marriage and you’re anxious to resume dating. Perhaps you’ve been lonely for years and you need someone to talk to. Or, perhaps you feel that dating would help you get your mind off the divorce. Regardless of your reason to re-enter the dating scene, is it okay to do while your divorce is still pending in the courts?
Each state views dating during divorce differently. In some states, such as California and New York, judges are not concerned if a spouse dates during their divorce. In such states, dating during a divorce will have no impact on alimony awards (spousal support), but that’s other states. In Texas, dating during a divorce is frowned upon and it can impact a divorce proceeding, which we explain below.
Dating During a Divorce & Adultery
In Texas, adultery is not condoned. “Adultery” is defined as a spouse having sexual intercourse with someone who is not their spouse. If a spouse were to go through a divorce and start dating after the separation but before the divorce was final in Texas, the courts could consider it adultery because the spouse had “extramarital relations.”
“How does adultery impact a Texas divorce?” you might ask. For starters, if a spouse is seeking an alimony award and it can be proven that he or she committed adultery, even if it’s dating after the separation, the court can deny the cheating spouse alimony. Second, adultery can affect property division.
Essentially, the judge could award a larger share of the marital estate to the innocent spouse, especially if the cheating spouse wasted any marital assets on their dates by spending money at restaurants, hotels, on trips, gifts, and so on. Dating during a divorce or “adultery” does not normally impact child custody and visitation unless the parent who was dating was negligent and abandoned their children so they could date.
Waiting Until the Divorce is Final
We recommend that our clients hold off on dating until their divorce is final. This way, they avoid upsetting their spouse, they avoid turning a collaborative divorce into contested one, and they avoid complicating matters in the areas of alimony and property division. If you have any further questions about dating during a Texas divorce, even if it’s your spouse who is dating, we invite you to contact the Law Firm of Johnson & Gaskill PLLC.