If you are divorcing in Arizona, and if there’s someone you would like to date while your divorce is pending, how will dating that person impact your divorce proceeding? Every divorce is different, so you’ll need to have a Phoenix divorce attorney offer you personalized advice.
Many people can’t even think about dating after the pain of a divorce. They’re emotionally hurt and they need some time to heal. Other people date even while their divorce is pending. Divorce seldom happens quickly, so many people are ready to date again before their divorces are final.
Here in Arizona, everything about you may be scrutinized in a divorce. Each expenditure and every social media post may be examined carefully. If you date someone while your divorce is pending, or if you’re thinking about it, keep reading. You might have some reasons for concern.
Can You Be Penalized for Dating While Divorcing?
Arizona is a purely no-fault divorce state, so neither partner has to prove the other partner is at-fault for a divorce. Still, if you broke your marriage vows prior to the divorce or if you date someone while the divorce is pending, there may be consequences that you need to consider.
Dating is not prohibited during a divorce, but it’s important to discuss the matter with your Phoenix divorce lawyer because dating someone may affect your pending divorce in a number of ways.
Dating during your divorce, for example, could be perceived as “revenge” or as “getting back” at your spouse. Judges in divorce cases may not penalize you directly, but they tend to take a dim view of a spouse who will not wait for the divorce to be final before starting a new relationship.
What Can Happen If You Date While Divorcing?
Even when a divorce begins cordially with both partners cooperating, when it’s time to make decisions about the children or the joint marital property, any behavior or detail could trigger hostility or bitterness and turn a smooth divorce into a contentious, costly, lengthy dispute.
If you are dating someone during your divorce proceeding, an Arizona judge might presume that you’re not focused enough on the welfare of the children or you’re not spending sufficient time with them at an emotionally difficult moment of their lives.
Your spouse, for example, might tell the judge that dealing with divorce is already difficult for the children without another party’s presence. The person you’re dating might even be investigated by your spouse’s divorce lawyer.
If you date someone while your divorce is pending, your spouse might believe you secretly dated that person before your separation, and the person you date could be subpoenaed to testify in a deposition or even in your divorce trial.
What’s the Best Strategy While Your Divorce is Pending?
Most divorce lawyers would advise against dating during the divorce because it may increase the aggravation and cost of your divorce. A judge may not officially penalize you for going on dates, but dating will almost always have some type of impact on your final divorce settlement.
Your spouse’s lawyer may demand answers about when you started dating, if any marital property was transferred to the person you date, if the relationship is sexual, and what you’ve spent on that person. Even innocent relationships may trigger unnecessary costs and acrimony.
Any divorce entails a great deal of time, effort, and thoughtful consideration. Ideally, the best strategy for a divorcing spouse is to keep your divorce simple and to avoid anything that might complicate the process.
For example, if you intend to seek spousal support payments – alimony – from your ex-spouse, if you’re dating someone and you move in together, it may be harder for you to claim that you need spousal support payments since you’re sharing expenses with a third party.
If You Date While Divorcing, Consider These Tips
If you can’t be persuaded out of dating while your divorce is pending, at least wait until the divorce is final to start living in a cohabitation arrangement.
Of course, if you’re in love, you might not easily be talked out of dating your new love interest during your ongoing divorce. If that’s the case, you still need to consider these suggestions:
- Don’t start dating someone until you and your spouse are residing separately.
- Be discreet. It’s best if you don’t introduce a dating partner to your child until your divorce has been finalized. You might inadvertently exacerbate your child’s emotional pain, and that might put your custody rights at risk.
- Don’t get pregnant or impregnate someone until the divorce is final. A pregnancy delays a divorce settlement until the child is born so the court may verify the newborn’s paternity and see how the child will affect the court’s custody and child support orders.
- Socialize, but don’t be anxious to pair up with someone right away.
- If you do meet someone you like, be honest regarding your situation, and don’t date another person – for any reason – while you’re still living with your current spouse.
- Join a support group for the newly-divorced. It will help you deal with negative feelings like abandonment or isolation that you may experience during and immediately after your divorce.
Why Is Cooperation Between Ex-Spouses So Important?
Even if you’re the one who initially sought the divorce, jumping back immediately into the dating scene may not be the smartest idea. Consider a short “cooling-off” period.
When divorcing spouses are parents, it really is best if they can keep their relationship cordial. You’ll have to be in contact with your ex-spouse until the children turn 18, and dating while divorcing can potentially become a long-term obstacle to cooperation for the children’s sake.
How Will the Right Divorce Lawyer Help You?
The right Arizona family law attorney will protect your rights and ensure that you’re treated justly and fairly throughout your divorce proceeding, but even the best attorney cannot guarantee that your divorce won’t be embarrassing or uncomfortable.
Your social media posts, texts, and emails may be obtained by the opposing attorney and even read by the judge. You must be discreet to survive your divorce with the least possible embarrassment or discomfort.
In Arizona, whether your divorce is uncontested or contested bitterly, you will need the guidance, advice, and services of a good Phoenix divorce attorney, and you will need that attorney’s help from the very beginning of the divorce process.