Why Holding Off Would Be Wiser
Perhaps you are ready to begin a new relationship soon after filing for divorce and leaving the home you shared with your spouse. You may have even gone out with someone once or twice. However, beginning to date someone while your divorce is still ongoing can have significant consequences on the final outcome of your case.
The Impact on the Case
Even though Florida has no law preventing anyone from dating someone else during a divorce, that does not mean that one should go out and find a new relationship as soon as the paperwork is filed. Legally you may be allowed to seek out a new relationship while you are separated from your spouse and waiting for a divorce to finalize, but doing so could have ramifications on two key areas of your case: your parenting plan and property division.
If you start dating someone while your divorce is still ongoing, you arm your spouse with information to be used against you when it comes time to determine the parenting plan arrangement. Your spouse could argue that you are more preoccupied with building your relationship with your new significant other than you are with providing for the needs of your children. As such, your spouse could receive more time with your children than you.
Florida divides property on an equitable basis, and while this does not guarantee an even split of property, such a split can and often does happen. However, dating someone while your divorce is still pending means that your spouse could argue that you are engaging in marital waste; they could say that money that technically belongs to both you and your spouse is being used to fund your new relationship. As a result, this can lead to reimbursement, and reimbursement can take the form of other assets that are up for division in the case.
Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should
While there may not be any legal ramifications for pursuing a relationship while getting divorced, the risks far outweigh any benefits. It is recommended that anyone interested in a new relationship hold off until the divorce is finalized.
If you have questions about divorce or are unsure of how to proceed, be sure to reach out to the team at Schipani, Norman & McLain, P.A.. We are ready to help you navigate the process to a new, fresh start. Call our Sarasota family law attorneys at (941) 499-8154 to get started, or visit our website to learn more.