Is it okay if I go out on a date?" asked my client, "John". He had filed for divorce and taken his own apartment. "After fighting with my wife for two years, "I'd like be to be with someone who is glad to have me around."
I get this question all the time as a divorce attorney. And, my simple answer is always the same: "Not until your divorce is final." But, life is rarely simple. "John" was lonely and stressed out. Meeting someone new, feeling desirable again, and having fun struck him as a terrific idea. So, despite my cautions, and like many clients, "John" decided it "couldn't hurt" to accept a friend's offer to fix him up. Anticipating this, I gave "John" the do's and don'ts of dating before you are divorced.
Unfortunately, there is more that you shouldn't do than should, but first let's clarify what is meant by "dating". Legally, "dating" means one-on-one social contact with another person, typically the opposite sex. There is no distinction between platonic contacts and ones that are romantic or sexual, although from a practical standpoint, the romantic/sexual relationships are the ones that draw scrutiny and cause complications.
The reason divorce lawyers counsel against dating while the divorce is pending, even if separated, is that it has the potential to increase both the cost and the stress of the divorce trial. You are not supposed to date if you are married. Judges, however, rarely punish someone who begins dating - sexually or otherwise - once they have physically separated from their spouse.
Cynthia Moseley Fox, Esq.
To read this article in its entirety, please click here.
For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/