Coming to the realization that you need to get a divorce can be extremely challenging. After all, you are pondering whether or not to end a relationship that has been the longest and most important one that you have ever entered into. In many cases you would have built a life, a family and a sense of self that is directly connected to this other person. Moving forward with a divorce displays to the world that you were wrong in some regard about the relationship and the direction that your life has been headed.
Getting over this emotional hump can seemingly take weight off of your shoulders sufficient to cause you to feel like you can move on with your life in many different ways. One of those ways is to put your marriage in the rearview mirror and to move on to another relationship. Maybe there is someone that you have in mind to begin dating once this whole divorce thing is behind you. After talking to a few friends who actually started dating someone during their divorce you may start to think it’s not such a bad idea. After all, it’s just going to be dinner a few times a week. You deserve a distraction, right?
Today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC is here to tell you that it may be time to tap the brakes on trying out new pickup lines- at least until your divorce is over with. While it may feel natural on some level to begin to transition your life away from your soon to be ex-spouse, unless and until your divorce is done and over with you should hold off on doing so.
It’s all problems and no solutions that come from dating during a divorce case
Let’s suppose that you did start dating someone during your divorce. The best case scenario is that you do so secretively and nobody but you and the other person are any the wiser. Your life is spent sneaking around to engage in what still amounts to an affair. Time is being taken away from your children, your support system, your work and your case. Best case scenario is what I just laid out for you and there is little benefit to be had.
Worst case scenario is what I am about to get into with all of you. Keep in mind that I am not trying to be a downer or a jerk or anything else. Ultimately it doesn’t matter to me what you, an anonymous internet reader does with their personal life. However, once you become involved in a divorce case your private life becomes anything but. The habits you have and the people you are associated with become part of the public record (literally in some cases).
What happens to your ability to settle your case if you date during divorce?
The vast majority of divorces in Texas are settled before they ever see the inside of a courtroom. The idea that you will have to face a judge to determine how your case will ultimately be determine is untrue. You may have to, sure. But the more likely outcome is that you, your ex-spouse, your attorneys and a mediator settle your case outside of court.
This is a likely outcome but is not a sure thing. Dating during your divorce is one of the ways that can throw a wrench into this plan. Here is how. Dating another person during your marriage is adultery. Since your divorce case is still during the marriage then you are committing adultery which is a fault ground for divorce in the state of Texas.
While we are beyond the days where adultery could wind up with you getting punished in the town-square, we are not so far past it to have there be zero consequences for having an affair. If you hare spent community income on trips, meals or other items for your paramour you run the risk of your spouse bringing this to the attention of the judge. A ruling can be issued where your spouse is able to recover a disproportionate (more than fifty percent) share of your community estate as a result of your extramarital relationship.
Do you have children? Consider the impact on them before dating during divorce
As I mentioned at the outset of today’s blog post, your time is finite. You do not have an unlimited amount of your time to spend on everything that you want to. This is always true, but is especially true during a divorce when you are going to be pulled in many different directions at once. Time spent with your attorney is time away from your family. Time spent with your family is time spent away from work, etc.
You need to realize that you are, in some capacity, putting your paramour in front of your family if you do decide to date during your divorce. What’s the harm, you may be asking. You only see the other person during the time when your children are with your spouse. Nobody is any the wiser. It’s a victimless crime.
Ultimately a divorce is tougher on you emotionally than you may be able to process at first. If you are constantly burying your feelings and distracting yourself with other people and things you are missing an opportunity to do some self-reflection that is necessary for growth during and after a divorce. You are robbing yourself of a great opportunity to discover more about yourself than you realize. Take what free time you have in your divorce and devote it to yourself and your family. There is plenty of time for dating after divorce.
Finally, if you are introducing your new boyfriend or girlfriend to your children during the divorce then you are really asking for trouble. The reason being is that your children are attempting (most likely) to cling to whatever is stable and familiar to them during a time in their lives where there are plenty of changes going on. Why throw in a confusing new aspect into their lives in the form of this new significant other?
Eager to get on with the rest of your life? Dating during divorce can hinder your ability to do so
If you are so eager to a move on with the rest of your life that you feel like dating during the divorce is a good idea, I would counsel you to do the exact opposite. Suppose that you filed for divorce (in large part to start dating in earnest this new person) from your spouse and he or she is still taking it pretty hard. You have a couple different options at this stage. You can either decide to play nice with your spouse to speed up the divorce and settle earlier rather than later, or you can muddy the waters and do things that will only serve to hurt him or her. Dating another person during your divorce is a good way to do the latter.
Angry, upset and hurt people do not make good negotiating partners. In fact, I would argue that if you are wanting to calm the waters with your spouse the worst thing you could do is hurt their pride by dating another person. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that dating during your divorce can help you transition faster into the next phase of your life. Quite the opposite- you are delaying (unnecessarily) that next phase by ensuring that your hurt spouse will not want to negotiate with you any time soon.
More information on dating during divorce will be provided in tomorrow’s blog post
We hope that the discussion that we have had today has been both entertaining and informative. If you are interested in learning more about this subject please stay tuned tomorrow as we will post a second blog that covers the topic of dating during a divorce.
If you have questions or seek clarification on anything that we have discussed today please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. We offer free of charge consultations six days a week where we answer question and address concerns of people, just like you, that live in our community.