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What Do I Do If My Spouse Wants to Date During Our Divorce?

Going through a divorce looks different for everyone. Whether you are happy about getting a divorce or wishing the whole thing would go away, finding out your soon to be ex-spouse is dating someone new can raise a lot of questions. Before your marital status is restored to single, you remain legally married.

You may be asking yourself, “Can my spouse even do this? Is this legal? Is this adultery? How will this impact our kids?” These are common questions to have, and you are not alone in thinking this way. 

California is a No-Fault Divorce State

It is important to understand that California is a “no-fault” divorce state. Family Code section 2310 states that a divorce can be based on either irreconcilable differences or insanity. There is no option to file for a divorce based on the fault of your spouse.

Although you may have been misunderstood, mistreated, or disrespected during your marriage, Family Code section 2335 makes it clear that evidence of fault or misconduct is improper and inadmissible in pleadings for a dissolution. There are few limited exceptions which are mostly limited to domestic violence between spouses.

Therefore, any dating or cheating your spouse engaged in during your marriage, including after your divorce has been filed, will generally not be considered by the court in entering your judgment for divorce.


In What Circumstances Does the Court Care if My Spouse is Dating?

The family law court is not permitted to consider fault in dissolving a marriage, dividing property, or ordering support. There are limited circumstances in which a court will consider the fact that one party has started dating another person.

Most new relationships are not relevant to your divorce proceedings, and you should not spend your energy trying to uncover all the details. Chances are the dirt you spend your time digging up will be disregarded by the judge. 

However, if you suspect your spouse is spending money from the marital estate on a new relationship before you have formally divided your community assets, this could significantly impact your case. A new partner typically becomes most relevant in a dissolution proceeding if there is a new marriage post-judgment, not merely a dating relationship.

One situation where a new spouse becomes relevant is when one party owes the other spousal support. In this scenario, any funds your ex has comingled with their new spouse are fair game to be used to satisfy the spousal support debt owed to you. If you are unsure about whether a new relationship will impact your family law case, do not hesitate to consult with an experienced family law attorney to ensure you protect the assets you are entitled to.




What if My Ex Introduces Their New Partner to Our Kids?

Many clients are uncomfortable with the idea of their children being introduced to a new romantic partner while their divorce is pending, or even shortly after their divorce is finalized. As you can imagine, courts do not get involved in deciding who parties can and cannot date. Further, there are no legal time limits related to how long one party needs to wait before starting to date, living with someone new, or introducing friends and romantic partners to their children during their parenting time.

However, if you have reason to believe your ex’s new partner is a danger to your children, it is certainly worth bringing to the court’s attention. Under the Family Code, most custody decisions are based on the “best interests” of your children. If your ex or their new partner is exposing your kids to domestic violence, illicit drug use, accessible firearms, or other dangerous and harmful situations, the court will consider these facts in making appropriate custody orders.

If you and your spouse have an amicable relationship, it is wise to discuss your expectations about introducing new people to your children, having others sleep in the same house as your children, and allowing new partners to care for your children. As long as your kids are safe, courts will not be inclined to intervene, and you can save time and money by addressing these issues directly with your ex or through the help of your attorneys.


Should I Consider Dating During My Divorce?

Starting a new romantic relationship after ending an old one can be tricky, especially when you’re technically still married. Legally, there is absolutely nothing that prohibits you from pursuing new romantic relationships while you are going through a divorce. However, before falling head-over-heels and diving into life with a new partner, you may want to step-back and consider what dating during divorce may bring. 

Often, dating during divorce can lead to higher conflict and increased litigation, which of course leads to increased attorney’s fees. Going through a divorce can be highly emotional and overwhelming. It may be difficult to add a romantic relationship to your plate while navigating a divorce.

However, if you do decide to start dating, being open and honest about your pending divorce proceedings is the best practice. Be mindful when you choose to introduce new partners to children of your marriage, as this can sometimes lead to increased litigation costs and animosity, not to mention a lot of change for your kids.

Consult an Expert at Cage & Miles to Discuss Your Concerns

If you or your spouse has started dating during divorce or gotten remarried and you have questions about how it may impact your family law case, contact Cage & Miles to request a free 30-minute consultation. Our experienced family law attorneys will help you understand whether the new relationships in your case should be brought to the court’s attention, addressed between the parties and attorneys outside of court, or left unbothered. Let our team of experts help you navigate how dating impacts your divorce. 

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