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Dating Before the Divorce is Final: An In-Depth Look At the Risks

Posted on in Divorce

dating during divorce processThere are a multitude of articles and blog posts expressing opinions about the consequences of people dating during the divorce process. The problem is that most of those posts contain conflicting information, and include some facts and a lot of fiction. This post aims to explain a bit about what issues dating during divorce may actually pose.

What You Really Need to Know

  • One very real danger of dating during the divorce process involves the concept of dissipation. Dissipation occurs when one spouse uses marital property for something solely for his or her own benefit and unrelated to the marriage, at a point where the marriage is breaking down. Money spent on new relationships commonly falls within the definition of dissipation. Birthday or anniversary presents for your new boyfriend/girlfriend, inviting them to join you on vacation, or even taking them to a nice event in downtown Chicago, can all become the basis of a dissipation claim your soon to be ex’s attorney may bring against you.

  • A new flame may further upset your soon-to-be ex; be prepared for a hostile reaction to you announcing that you have a new person in your life. The divorce process is already an extremely emotionally charged period and hearing news that you have a new relationship may worsen the already tense situation. That spouse may take out his or her anger in your divorce case, likely by refusing to compromise on minor issues or even starting a fight over something that was previously not an issue. A common example may be fighting for custody merely to keep his or her kids away from a new boyfriend/girlfriend.

  • While going on dates throughout the divorce process may not have any significant impact, cohabitating with a new boyfriend/girlfriend will have a major impact. In Illinois, cohabitation in divorce court generally means living with another person on a “resident, continuing, conjugal basis.” When one party cohabits with a third party before a divorce is final, it may totally bar them from receiving maintenance in the divorce. Even if you end the live-in relationship, you may not be allowed to bring maintenance payments in the future. Caution: cohabitation may encompass more relationships than you think. Courts consider a variety of factors when determining whether a particular relationship constitutes cohabitation. These may include any sexual conduct, the length of residency together, and whether expenses are shared.

  • Be careful not to negatively impact your children. As hard as divorce is for you and your spouse, it is likely much harder for your children. If the sting of learning that his or her parents are getting a divorce is still recent, your child may be especially at risk of taking news of a new relationship badly. Before the divorce is final, children may not understand what will happen to them and whether they will be able to stay in contact with both parents. Adding another person into the changing family structure may only perpetuate fears of losing the other parent.

If you are considering a divorce and want to fully understand your relationship rights, contact the experienced DuPage County family law attorneys at Davi Law Group, LLC to discuss your situation. Our attorneys and staff are well versed in the Illinois divorce laws and can help advise you of how to live your life without jeopardizing your rights in the process.

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