A separation or divorce can be one of the toughest challenges in a person’s life. There are a lot of legal issues at play during this period, not to mention the mental and emotional stress.
One of the most common questions that a separated spouse may have at this point is if it’s legally okay to start dating other people. The simple answer to this is: No.
To many people, it might seem unfair to put their life on hold, but there’s just no legal upside to dating before a divorce is finalized. In fact, dating while a divorce in Georgia is still pending can have negative repercussions on alimony, child custody, or visitations proceedings.
Before making decisions that can significantly affect a divorce case, consult with a good family law attorney.
Before worrying about the legal side of dating while a divorce case is ongoing, one should also consider if they’re emotionally ready to date. Is this emotionally charged process really the best time to start dating someone new?
Most people would agree that this time is better spent reflecting on their failures and successes while they were still married. Instead of seeking a new relationship, it might be healthier and more productive to focus on self-reflection and self-improvement. Moreover, it’s also not impossible for estranged spouses to reconcile during the process.
Many, if not most, judges in Georgia understand that some people may want to date after a separation, but before the divorce is final. This is only natural.
In certain cases however, dating someone else before a divorce decree is issued can lead to far-reaching consequences—and can even turn an uncontested divorce into a contested one.
Georgia divorce law has no concept of legal separation. This means that even if the spouses are already living apart and have no desire to continue being married to each other, the law still regards them as a married couple. Any extramarital relationship before the formal end of the marriage may be considered adultery during the divorce case. The best choice is to refrain from dating before that divorce decree is issued.
As long as the marriage still exists legally, dating is considered adultery. And adultery is a fault ground for divorce in the state. When a spouse decides to date before being divorced, it can bar them from receiving alimony.
If the court finds out that a spouse seeking spousal support has moved on with a new partner, they may decide to reduce or deny the request for alimony. The petitioner’s spouse may also claim that the relationship started before the divorce case was filed, and that it’s responsible for the failure of the marriage. This, in turn, can also lead to a denial of spousal support.
There’s nothing technically stopping you from dating once you’ve filed your divorce. However, you also have to consider whether the potential consequences on your case are worth it. You should also think about how it will affect your children and your new life.
If you have any more questions about dating during separation or any other tricky issues about your divorce case, it’s best to consult an experienced and qualified divorce lawyer today. Sharon Jackson can review your case and help you understand your options.
Contact Attorney Sharon Jackson today by calling (678) 909-4100 to schedule a consultation.