Many of our clients are eager to get back out and begin dating again. And we can’t blame them. The fact that your marriage ended in divorce does not mean there isn’t someone out there who you can start over with.
However, is dating before the divorce is finalized a good idea? There are several considerations to keep in mind. If you have questions about your divorce, please contact our Houston divorce lawyer today.
Technically, It Is Legal to Date
Texas long ago abolished adultery as a crime, so there is no legal reason you can’t begin dating even if you are married. What’s more, most divorces in Texas are “no fault.” Essentially, one spouse alleges that the marriage has broken down. In that case, it doesn’t matter if you are dating someone while married.
However, legality is not the only issue to consider. A seasoned divorce lawyer is always looking for problems that could crop up, and there are many when it comes to dating while married.
Your Spouse Might Fight Harder
Some people are working diligently toward an amicable divorce only to have news that they are dating blow up in their face. Suddenly, their efficient, uncontested divorce turns into an epic battle because their spouse decides to make them suffer.
When emotions get involved, people behave irrationally. Suddenly, your spouse can’t reach an agreement on how to divide your community property, or your spouse now wants to haggle over child custody. These disputes can drag out a divorce, costing you money in the process.
Never assume your spouse will be okay with you dating. Even if he or she is seeing someone on the side, they could still be upset at you. If you can delay dating just until you have a decree in hand, you can avoid these problems.
You Don’t Know How Your Children Will Respond
Many children flourish with a stepparent. However, there is usually an adjustment period unless the child is a baby. Our firm recommends not forcing anything with your children, who might still be vulnerable from the divorce. Also, you have no idea if this new relationship will last, and it is terrible to get your children emotionally attached to an adult who might not stick around.
There might also be some issues involving child custody. For example, your new paramour could have a criminal record, or you could spend so much time with your new squeeze that you neglect your children. In these situations, a judge might not think you are the best fit for child custody.
You Might Receive Less Community Property
Texas is a community property state, and it generally is true that couples divide their estate 50/50 at divorce. However, a judge can depart from this and make a “just and right” distribution, and your dating history could come into play.
For example, if you spend large sums on a new boyfriend or girlfriend, the judge might think you are wasting community assets. Don’t buy a big diamond ring for a new girlfriend or pay for a trip to Vegas with your boyfriend. Even if you think you are using money that is “yours,” it is probably still community property you are spending.
A judge cannot punish a spouse for infidelity. But the judge can consider whether the new relationship led to the breakup of the marriage. If so, your spouse might be rewarded with a disproportionate amount of community property to make up for the benefits lost due to divorce.
Contact Us Today
Before creating an eHarmony profile, please call Hargrave Law. We can talk more about your divorce and how to set yourself up for a favorable decree. Call to schedule a free consultation.