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Can you date during your divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2022 | Divorce

You married your partner when you were young, but now that you’ve both grown and been together for a few years, you’ve realized that you aren’t a great fit. You want to move on and start dating other people, but you haven’t even started the process of divorcing.

Is it okay to begin dating once you start your divorce? When is it appropriate to have another relationship? These are great questions.

Most attorneys agree that you should wait

In most cases, attorneys agree that you should wait to date until your divorce has been finalized. There are a few reasons for this, such as:

  • Minimizing the risk of accusations of adultery
  • Helping avoid claims of using assets on another party
  • A lower risk of conflicts between the new partner and old one
  • A lower risk of child custody or parenting conflicts

You shouldn’t start dating someone before you file, and even then, you may want to wait until you’re able to separate your assets and get your living situation sorted out. While some divorces can take a long time, many are settled relatively quickly. Virginia requires a mandatory one-year waiting period, but that could be waived if there are grounds for divorcing sooner. For example, if you have evidence that your spouse cheated on you, then the judge may agree to allow you to divorce sooner.

What can you do if you want to start dating during the waiting period?

It is helpful if you don’t, but if you do, you should be sure that your property division settlement and other arrangements have already been finalized. If you want to date before that, it’s better if you do so quietly. Avoid posting about it online, avoid sharing photos or talking about the dates with others.

While those might seem like unfair restrictions, it’s better to keep any new dating off the radar, so you can protect your interests. This is particularly important if you have children or if your spouse is litigious, because you don’t want to have them drag out the divorce longer than it needs to be or to try to use your dating history against you during a trial.