Everybody wants to be happy. You do. I do. My wife does. My daughters do. I could go on and on just like this. Suffice it to say that in our modern world happiness and living out a life that causes you to be happy is just about as important a life’s goal as anything you could be doing. Whether or not happiness is something that we can strive for in and of itself is a topic for another day, however. If you are in a failing marriage and are moving towards a divorce happiness may just be no longer living in the same home as your spouse.
With that said, when you begin to create some physical distance between yourself and your spouse it is likely that there is already a great deal of emotional distance at play. Physical and emotional distance, a turbulent and stressful divorce and possibly more free time leaves a decent sized void in your life that some people try to fill with a new relationship. While it may feel good to have the companionship that comes with a new relationship, there are many possible ways that a relationship can harm your during a divorce.
If you have not done so already, I suggest that you go back and read yesterday’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. We went through a few of those ways that dating during your divorce can severely hamper your ability to put on a strong case and achieve the goals that you have set out for yourself in your divorce.
We will pick up where we left off in yesterday’s blog post by completing our discussion on dating, divorce and how the intersection of those two topics may end up causing you more harm than benefit in the short and long runs.
Complicated divorces are more expensive divorces
In the interest of full disclosure, I am not on Facebook and have not been in some time. My profile was deleted years ago so I haven’t seen any of the newer features that the website has created. With that said, one thing I do remember from the old days of Facebook is that you could list “It’s complicated” as a description of your relationship with another person. I can’t think of anyone I knew that chose this option seriously. The few people that used it did so as a joke amongst friends.
However, that relationship descriptor would certainly be appropriate for describing a relationship that you enter into as a married person during a divorce. Throwing another person into an already emotionally involved and difficult situation is a recipe for disaster in most circumstances based on my experiences as a family law attorney.
If you have children then you can doubly emphasize this point. Your husband or wife will probably already be in protection mode as far as keeping your children away from this new person in your life. Whereas in other circumstances you could have easily negotiated settlements on property division and custody with your spouse, your dating someone openly during the divorce could cause a lot of hard feelings that make it hard to negotiate in any way. If you expect to negotiate a settlement, co-parent successfully or just to simply show the slightest bit of respect towards one another, you and your spouse cannot also date someone during the marriage.
Think about your own mental and emotional state
Whether you want to admit it to yourself or not, a divorce is hard to deal with. Even if you are the most emotionally well put together person you know, or have moved on emotionally from your marriage a long time ago there is something about the finality of divorce that can cause unforeseen emotions to arise in a person. It is critical to your being able to move forward with your life for you to deal with these emotions, to work through and process them.
Dating during the divorce is a great way to distract yourself from these emotions and instead to apply your attention to another person. In some ways this can be a good thing- after all, we all need distractions on occasion. However, if you are spending every waking moment with this person rather than betting yourself you will be no more able to start your post divorce life than you were at the beginning of your case.
My point is this: no matter how you are in terms of your emotional make up, it is important that you at least give yourself an opportunity to assess your situation and make an honest assessment of where you are emotionally. You may need to do some soul searching to determine what you did (and did not do) during your marriage that could have led to this divorce. Avoiding these type of difficult analyses can lead to problems down the line in your life.
Time is money
The best case scenario in your divorce is to have a settlement reached with your spouse early in the process that requires only some fine tuning and putting the agreement into writing for you all to sign. This can be done. Not only can it be done but I see it done all the time. However, not all spouses are in the position to do this. I’ll explain why.
The spouses that are able to put their differences aside, focus on the important aspects of their lives and understand that a divorce does not have to define either of them as a person are the ones that usually see the light and settle the differences early. This does not mean that either party would have bowed down the other and given up things that they believe in. On the contrary, these spouses are often more honest with one another and have a degree of trust that the other person simply wants to get out of the marriage with as little turmoil and hurt feelings as possible.
When you bring another person into the picture then whatever level of trust that could have been in place will have evaporated quickly. How do you expect to be able to negotiate with another person over issues like finances and children when you have betrayed what little remaining goodwill that there is between the two of you? By dating someone during your marriage you have broken the last bonds of trust that may have been in place.
What this means is that you have a spouse who has no goodwill towards you and will likely be more prepared to stand their ground and not back off in any regard when it comes to negotiation. There is still a possibility to settle your case rather than to head to a trial, but expect that it’s going to be a “my way or the highway” approach exhibited by your spouse.
If your case proceeds to a trial you can expect the overall cost of your case to nearly double. The time that is spent preparing for trial and physically being in the courtroom cause this to occur. Your attorney will need to prepare your case, prepare you as a witness, and then spent a day or two (or longer) at the courthouse focusing on you and your case. All the while you are paying for this to occur (literally and figuratively).
The bottom line is that you can avoid this scenario by acting towards your spouse in a respectful way. Holding off on dating during your marriage is a good place to start.
Questions about how to handle yourself during a divorce? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC understand that a divorce is not all about strategy and the law. There are emotional and relational aspects to your case as well that our attorneys and staff will help you with along the way towards helping you achieve your goals.
If you have questions for one of our attorneys please do not hesitate to contact us today. We offer free of charge consultations six days a week with one of our licensed family law attorneys.