The longer you’ve been in an unhappy marriage, the faster you may be ready to move on. If the opportunity for romance presents itself after you’ve made the decision to seek a divorce but before the process is final, should you take it?
There’s no easy answer to this question. While it’s not exactly illegal to date before your divorce is final, there are some good reasons to hold off.
1. You’re still legally married
Even though your marriage is effectively over, getting into a romantic relationship prior to your divorce is still considered adultery. That’s one of the legally permissible “grounds” for a divorce in New York.
If your spouse decides to use this against you, rather than seeking a no-fault divorce, the fact that you’re technically having an affair could be used to sway the court into a more favorable settlement for them.
2. You could inflame the situation
Starting a new relationship prior to the end of your marriage can also inflame any existing tensions with your spouse – and that could be the very thing that motivates them to stop cooperating with negotiations. If you want a relatively cooperative divorce, you shouldn’t do anything that could be perceived as a personal affront by your spouse until you’re done hammering out all the agreements surrounding the division of property, child custody and support.
3. You could be accused of dissipation of assets
You can bet that your spouse is going to be looking very closely at what you spend on this new romance, and that can lead to allegations that you are dissipating the marital assets. Dissipation can occur if you spend anything that might be considered marital funds on your new partner, which can include the money you use for fancy dinners, hotel rooms, expensive vacations or pricey gifts. That could put you at a big disadvantage when it comes time to divide the marital property.
4. You could alienate your children
No matter what the age of your children, you want to approach this situation carefully. They may not understand the nuances of the situation and have some strong feelings about it (and your new partner) if you seem to enter into a relationship before you’re officially divorced from their other parent.
Ultimately, every situation is different. If you’re unsure how you should proceed when a chance at new love arises, it’s usually best to get some experienced legal guidance before you act. That way, you can at least make an informed decision.
At The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates, PLLC, our focus is relentless advocacy for our clients. If you or someone you know is seeking a divorce, reach out to schedule a consultation at 646-665-3903 or by contacting us online.
Let Me Be Your Brave
Mia Poppe, Esq.