To Date or Wait During Divorce?
It is not uncommon for parties going through a divorce wanting to date prior to the formal conclusion of their divorce. However, many people often wonder if there is a legal prohibition against doing so. The short answer is ‘not technically,' but the long answer is that it can cost you significantly in the divorce process.
Practical Reasons to Wait
Before entering into a new relationship, there are several reasons why one should consider waiting—reasons which have nothing to do with the law. Perhaps the primary reason is to consider one's children, especially if they are very young. Children, while fairly resilient, can react negatively to a new boyfriend or girlfriend, especially very soon after a mother or father moves out of the family home. Children may think of this new person as a ‘replacement.' Additionally, any confusion or upsetting that is caused may be used by your ex-spouse as an argument against you. He or she may even request that less parenting time to be granted to you. Also, it is possible that your ex-spouse may try to allege dissipation of marital assets, especially if you visibly spend money on a new partner.
Finally, negative feelings may be aroused in your ex-spouse upon seeing you with a new partner, especially if you were the one to file the divorce. When an ex-spouse feels slighted and insulted during divorce proceedings, he or she may try to prolong the proceedings—a type of revenge designed to make you expend more time and effort.
One Possible Legal Reason to Wait
Under Illinois law, there is one reason why dating during your divorce proceedings could cost you. Illinois law holds that spousal support or alimony stops when the receiving spouse begins to cohabitate with someone else on a “resident, continuing, conjugal basis.” While a conjugal relationship does not have to be sexual, it can be alleged if you visibly share too much of your life with someone else.
For example, having a joint checking account with a partner is a sign that your relationship has become conjugal—it is something that a couple would establish to ensure that both parties had access to shared funds. Sharing vacations is another element that can show your relationship is conjugal. While in the end, the decision is up to the family court judge, none of this can be used against you if you wait to officially date until after a divorce decree is signed.
A Family Lawyer Can Help
While waiting to move on during divorce proceedings can be difficult, it may prove advantageous to wait to date until after your divorce is final. The skilled Wheaton, Illinois divorce attorneys at MKFM Law will do our best to work with you to increase the odds of a smooth and speedy proceeding. Contact our office today via telephone at 630-665-7300 or via our web form to set up an initial appointment.