Can I date when I’m going through a divorce?

September 23, 2019

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Many clients ask us the question – Can I date while I’m going through my divorce? The simple answer is yes, you can date when you are divorcing but you need to be aware that it may have an impact on your relationship with your former partner and possibly on the overall financial settlement.

Here are some things to think about if you are contemplating dating whilst going through a divorce:

  • Remember that while you are going through a divorce and until you have your Decree Absolute, the final order which concludes the divorce process, you are technically still married. Therefore, engaging in sexual relations with someone other than your spouse before that point actually constitutes adultery. Your former partner can rely on your adultery to support the fact that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. It should be noted, however, that Judges rarely punish someone who begins dating once they are physically separated from their spouse unless their conduct is such that it would be inequitable to disregard it.
  • Going through a divorce can be an emotionally draining process. It is important to be mentally ready to take on a new relationship so as to not rush into anything and make costly mistakes. Many of our clients choose to concentrate on getting through the divorce in the best possible shape so as to be in a good position to move on once the formal divorce process is done and dusted.
  • Dating during a divorce can cause increased animosity with both your former partner and any children you may have together. It can put a strain on communications and in turn may have a negative impact on the negotiations between you and your spouse.
  • If you and your former partner are discussing the future arrangements for your children and if one of you is dating or has a new partner it is likely that the new partner will be factored in to the discussions as, naturally, if the relationship flourishes that person will become part of the children’s new life too. If you are unable to resolve arrangements for your children outside the court arena, the court can even carry out suitability checks against the new partner.
  • If you have children, it is likely that they will require more of your time and attention during the divorce and separation process as they too will be feeling the impact of the separation of their parents. If you are dating, you may find yourself being less available for your children which is not ideal at this difficult time.
  • If you move in with your new partner or intend to do so, this may have an impact on the way in which the court considers your financial needs for the future. This can have serious consequences on the overall financial settlement and it is always best to contact one of our divorce and family law specialists for advice if this something that you are considering.
  • In any event, be aware that if you move in with a new partner during the course of a divorce and you are completing a Form E (a financial statement setting out your financial information), the Form E will require information on your new partner’s finances. The reason this information is required is that essentially your joint incomes will be treated as “pooled” and this will affect your income and asset requirements.
  • When you and your former partner have children together it is imperative that you are able to communicate successfully going forward. Often individuals find it difficult to introduce a new partner to their ex. Dominic Raeside, our Head of Mediation at Family Law in Partnership, is very experienced in helping couples to deal with the introduction of a new partner to the family and can facilitate discussions about arrangements for the children moving forwards.

If you are thinking of dating while you are going through your divorce or if you want to move in with a new partner, contact any of our top London divorce and family lawyers at T: 020 7420 5000 or E: hello@flip.co.uk to discuss the possible impact this may have. We are experts in divorce litigation as well as the full range of other process options – mediationcollaborative practicearbitration and solicitor led negotiations and we use our skills across the full range of these process options to help you to resolve the issues arising from your divorce or separation in the most constructive way possible.