Dating and Divorce — When are You Safe to Re-Enter the Dating Pool?

Many people who are going through a divorce think that it is all right to start dating again, considering they are getting a divorce anyway. However, these same people may fail to realize that the timing of a new, personal relationship can severely impact divorce proceedings.

Obviously, adults are free to associate with whomever they choose. If someone, however, engages in sexual relations before his or her final divorce decree this will be viewed as adultery. In some states, though not New Jersey, adultery is a crime. Further, engaging in adultery causes many emotional problems; however, in New Jersey it will not be considered in determining alimony unless it changes the parties’ financial status.

In New Jersey, from a legal perspective, adultery also does not affect resolution of custody, timesharing or child support issues. However, it may severely affect the other spouse’s willingness to negotiate and compromise.The innocent spouse may be so angry with the adulterer that his or her judgment may be clouded. It is difficult enough to reach a settlement between divorcing parties; if one spouse is very angry, then it often becomes impossible.

Cohabitation also may affect how much financial support will be ordered by a court. If one spouse decides to live with someone with whom he or she is having a sexual relationship, New Jersey divorce courts will take that into account when setting alimony payments. Again, it is best to wait until the divorce is final.

“As far as dating and divorce goes, my best advice is to wait,” says Karen Meislik, a divorce lawyer in New Jersey. “Although you want to move on with your life, you simply should not risk adding the emotional effect that dating can have on the divorce proceedings.”

If you are currently faced with a divorce or anticipate a divorce in the near future, be sure to speak to an experienced family law attorney to learn your rights and receive invaluable advice.