Divorces can drag on for many months, if not longer. If proceedings stall, it can be difficult to get through the process alone. Men and women both face the temptation to date before they are officially divorced, even though this can lead to potential problems with their ex-spouses. There are positives, such as companionship during what can be a trying time, but the social and financial negatives tend to outweigh them. In fact, many divorce attorneys will advise you to wait before beginning a new relationship.
Spouse and Child-Related Issues
Despite your best intentions, it can seem like a slap in the face to your ex-spouse if you cannot wait to date a new person until after the divorce is concluded. While in theory, it has ceased to be their business, in practice, a jealous or bitter ex-spouse can drag out proceedings, costing you significant time in court and money in attorneys’ fees. While there are limits as to what a party can do to hold up the process without facing potential sanctions, it is very possible for a divorce to drag on exclusively due to one party’s intransigence.
Dating during your divorce can also affect your children, especially if your new partner is very different from your former spouse. Child psychologists urge maintaining a routine for children during divorce, especially younger children, and seeing their parent with someone new is the antithesis of routine for many. Depending on the nature of the relationship, it may even provoke a response from your ex-spouse if your children experience adverse reactions. It is possible that your parenting time or the amount of parental responsibilities you are granted will be affected by introducing a new person into your children’s lives, especially if that person may be considered unsafe, perhaps due to past criminal convictions on their record.
Legal Ramifications of Dating During Divorce
Another legal issue that may arise has to do with spousal support. If you are receiving spousal support, but begin to cohabitate with a new partner, Illinois law permits that maintenance payments be stopped. The rationale is that since you are living with someone else, you do not require money from your former spouse. However, your former spouse must be able to prove that you have a “de facto spousal relationship” with the person in question.
For better or worse, it can be difficult to pin down what exactly constitutes a de facto spousal relationship, and each case is handled on an individual basis. Generally, however, it can be argued that this relationship exists when your life and that of the other person are sufficiently intertwined. It need not be a sexual relationship, but if you live together, both contribute toward bills, or have joint accounts together, or do special things like taking vacations together, all these factors can contribute to your relationship qualifying as cohabitation.
Contact a DuPage County Family Lawyer
Many of the issues raised by dating during divorce proceedings can be avoided by simply choosing to wait, but if you do wish to pursue a relationship, a knowledgeable attorney can help answer any questions about the road ahead. The experienced Wheaton divorce attorneys at Andrew Cores Family Law Group can guide you through the divorce process and work toward a compromise that will suit all involved. Call us at 630-871-1002 today to schedule a free consultation.