Can You Date During Your Divorce?

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Can you date during your divorce? Did you know that most people who file for divorce have been considering it for two years?  Most people  file for divorce when the marriage is no longer serving its legitimate purpose. It just takes a long time for most folks to realize the marriage has failed.  When people finally realize the marriage relationship is over, it often takes a long time for them to tell the other spouse.  Or they wait for the “right time” to file.  Once the divorce is filed, it may take several months or a year or more to complete the divorce.

During all this time spouses disengage emotionally from the each other before the divorce is completed.  Rather than live a lonely life, many people find someone new.  They are looking for their “next.” The “next” is the next relationship, the next spouse, or the next fling.  And who can blame them?  No one wants to be lonely.

Still, my advice for people facing a divorce is simple.  Before your next, make sure this spouse is your ex.  Don’t date during your marriage. It sounds simple, but moving on with a new partner before your divorce is final can have negative consequences.  Here are some ideas to consider to help illustrate my point.

Community Property Still Accrues

If you date during your divorce you risk slowing down the proceedings.  Dragging out the divorce over time means more community property can be added to the mix while the divorce is pending.  It also means community property can be damaged or lost during the divorce.  Community property forms the basis for a lot of conflict in a divorce.  Keeping the divorce short in duration keeps major changes to community property to a minimum.  Moving on to date during your divorce  reduces the urgency of finishing the case, and can drag out the proceedings much longer.

Another version of the same concept is the move-out without filing for divorce thing some people do.  Sometimes people’s marriage relationship comes to an end, but the don’t file for divorce; they just move out.  Since living apart does not have any effect on a lawful marriage, the marriage continues until there is a divorce.  This means that the law regarding marital issues like debt, property, retirement accounts and more still applies to both spouses until the divorce is finalized.

The danger is one party accrues a lot of debt that the creditors start pursuing against the lawful spouse.  Or one spouse happily works for years earning a large 401(k) but some day the spouse comes out of the blue wanting his or her share of the retirement account!  There are many ways the spouse can come back into your life in some unexpected and seemingly unfair ways. One way to limit the duration of the divorce is to not date during the divorce.

New Partners Can Drive Up The Cost of Your Divorce

Can you date during your divorce?  Yes, you can. That does not mean you should.  Texas courts generally do not care if a spouse is cheating.   People expect the courts to punish a cheating spouse, but that doesn’t happen.  Texas law does not permit that at all.  Adultery can be used to blame the fault of the break-up of the marriage on the cheating spouse. However, the court only cares about cheating if the cheater spent the community’s money on the paramour or if the innocent spouse is somehow disadvantaged by the cheating. As a rule, the courts don’t care about cheaters or cheating.

However, the innocent spouse may care very much about the cheating.  That may cause the innocent spouse to fight harder in the divorce.  When the innocent spouse discovers you have begun to date during your divorce, they often want more.  They want more hearings, want more of the community estate, want more possession of the children, and much more.  All of this drives up the financial, emotional, and mental cost of a divorce.  Waiting to move on to your next helps keep the moral high ground and reduce costs of your divorce.

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Youngblood Law, PLLC is a Fort Worth, Texas family law firm focusing on helping people move on their new happily ever after through divorce.  This essay is intended for educational use only, and is not a replacement for competent legal counsel.  If you are facing a family law matter, we recommend obtaining competent legal counsel like Youngblood Law, PLLC.  For more information contact us at (817) 601-5345, find us on the web at

Paul Youngblood #beforeyournext #lawfw #youngbloodlaw

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