You’re on the road to divorce and suddenly you learn that your spouse has already resumed dating and your divorce isn’t even final yet. You’re still legally husband and wife! Maybe your spouse told you themselves. Maybe you heard about it from your kids. Or, maybe a mutual friend reached out and let you know.
Regardless of how you received the news, you may be flooded with questions. “Can my spouse do that? Is it even legal? Are there repercussions?” are the types of questions our clients ask us. Read on as we shed light on this sensitive topic.
California is a No-Fault Divorce State
Each state views dating during a divorce differently. Some states frown upon it so much that it can be considered adultery if a spouse dates before their divorce is final. In such states, a spouse who has extramarital relations with someone other than their spouse can lose their right to spousal support. In light of that, how does California treat dating during divorce?
California is a no-fault divorce state. Meaning, all a spouse has to do to get divorced is file. They aren’t required to endure a six month or year-long separation period before filing, and they aren’t required to point the blame on their husband or wife. As long as one spouse wants a divorce, the courts will grant it. Not only that, but California is quite progressive in terms of family law.
The state treats men and women and heterosexual and homosexual couples equally. There is no bias or discrimination based on one’s gender or sexual orientation. The state is progressive in terms of dating during a divorce too. Generally, the courts aren’t concerned if a spouse dates during a divorce unless the dating has impacted the marital estate or parenting. Essentially, the courts are so busy, they believe they have more important things to worry about than a spouse dating during their divorce.
How to Handle Your Spouse’s Dating
Regardless of how you “feel” about your spouse’s dating, remember, you probably can’t change their mind, but you can control how you react to it. Here’s our advice:
Talk to your spouse about how you’ll both handle dating.
If you’re not dating, consider doing it too, especially if you think it will get your mind off the divorce.
If you decide to date, be honest with your dates about your pending divorce.
Ask your spouse not to introduce dates to your children until the divorce is final and they’re in a committed relationship.
Ask your spouse to only date when they don’t have the kids.
Don’t mention your spouse’s dating on social media.
If your spouse’s dating upsets you, be careful about ranting to your spouse, neighbors, or casual acquaintances about it as that can lead to litigation. Instead, vent to your close friends and family or consider seeing a professional therapist. Or, take the high road and try to distract yourself.
If you suspect your spouse is spending money on their new boyfriend or girlfriend that belongs to the marital estate, contact your attorney right away as this can impact your divorce settlement.
If you have further questions about dating during a divorce, we invite you to contact Cage & Miles to request a free consultation.