Can I Date While Going Through a Divorce

"Cate I date while going through a divorce?" This question comes up often when one is in the process of dissolving a marriage, but dating while going through a divorce is a sticky subject. There are a lot of factors to consider, especially if you have children who will also be affected by your decision to date.

Legally, the issue is generally black and white-most states don't have a law against dating while going through a divorce. However, if sexual relationships are involved, they can raise the issue of adultery, which is illegal in 23 US states, including:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Virginia 

Emotional Issues
Divorce carries a heavy emotional burden on all parties involved, especially children. Dating while going through a divorce displaces the energy that should be used on completing the divorce to starting a new life before it's time. This will only raise tensions and exacerbate the legal proceedings. There's also the concern that without enough separation from your spouse, you could choose a partner who has the same negative qualities.

Legal Proceedings
Dating during a divorce may not be illegal, but it can give ammunition to your spouse. For example, if you're out on a date instead of watching your children, your spouse can use that in a custody battle. As sexist as it may be, this affects mainly women going through a divorce. Additionally, if an affair was part of the reason for a divorce, a judge won't look kindly upon dating during the legal proceedings.

Children
Children can be especially sensitive to a parent dating someone else, during and after a divorce. Children ages 5 and 6 and those entering adolescence are the most vulnerable.

Other Factors
There are many things to consider before dating while going through a divorce. Ask yourself these questions before taking the next step:

  • How long have I been separated?
  • How long have I known the person I want to date?
  • Is my spouse involved with someone else?
  • Do I have children? Are they at those vulnerable ages?

There's no right or wrong way to go through a divorce. It depends on the situation. Regardless, you'll have the rest of your life to meet someone else, and that can happen sooner if you finalize the divorce sooner.

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