If you are ending your marriage, you may be itching to start dating again. After all, you may need companionship or simply want to take your mind off your divorce. Either way, dating during a divorce has a way of complicating matters considerably.
In theory, seeing someone before you officially end your marriage should have no effect on child custody, child support or spousal maintenance. In practice, though, there are three inherent risks that often come with jumping back into the dating pool too quickly.
1. The risk of aggravating your soon-to-be ex-spouse
Not all divorces have to involve an all-out battle. Often, spouses can reach an acceptable agreement on all or most divorce-related issues. If your dating aggravates your soon-to-be ex-spouse, however, he or she may be unwilling to negotiate. Even worse, your husband or wife may employ delay tactics that make your divorce drag on for months or longer.
2. The risk of paying more spousal support
Judges in Florida have wide latitude to award spousal support in divorce cases. If you expect your spouse may seek alimony, you may protect yourself by showing you do not have the financial ability to pay. Still, if you spend lavishly when dating, your husband or wife may have valuable evidence to counter your argument. He or she may even argue you are wasting the marital estate, causing you to receive less of it than you deserve.
3. The risk of losing your kids
When making custody-related determinations, Florida judges must consider the best interests of the children. If you start dating during your divorce, your new love interest’s background may become relevant. Likewise, if your dating behaviors show you to be an unfit or irresponsible parent, a judge may award custody of your kids to your spouse.
Even though dating may help you cope with the fallout from your divorce, you do not want to make matters worse. Ultimately, before beginning to date, it is advisable to think through all possible ramifications of your actions.