The question often arises, “Can I date while going through a divorce, or while separated?” There are no laws prohibiting you from dating while going through divorce. So, the question of “can I legally date while divorcing” is an answer of yes. A better question to ask is “Should I date during a divorce?”
Virginia does not have a “legal separation” status. Therefore, you are either married or divorced in the eyes of the law in the state of Virginia. During your period of separation, you are still legally married.
There are no laws against dating during your divorce proceedings or during your season of separation. However, in the eyes of the law in Virginia, you are still legally married until your divorce is finalized. Owing to this definition, there can be legal ramifications of choosing to date during your separation.
If you date during your divorce, you could be providing grounds for your spouse to claim a fault-based divorce. Marital fault can impact the court’s decisions on distributing marital properties. If you are engaging in sexual intercourse with your dating partner, then you are legally committing adultery based on Virginia law. Adultery is a fault-based ground for divorce. If your spouse proves your adultery to be evidence of a fault-based divorce then you could be at an unfavorable disadvantage when sorting terms of the divorce.
Dating during a divorce process can cause additional tension between you and your spouse. The more tension in the divorce process and the less amicable both parties are, the more difficult the legal process will be. Increased contention could result in a lengthier legal battle which will result in a more costly divorce for both parties.
Along with stoking additional tension between your spouse, dating while divorcing can also impact the negotiation of spousal support. The courts weigh the fault-based divorce when determining spousal support and could even deny you spousal support. Similarly, courts account for fault when determining the distribution of property and assets.
In instances where children are involved, dating while still legally married poses additional risks. In a divorce, custody and visitation of children are often established by a court. Courts make those decisions based on the best interests of the children. Virginia law outlines consideration for determining the best interests of the child in § 20-124.3 of the code of Virginia 1950, as awarded. Having a dating partner, especially if that person has interaction or a relationship with your children, could have a negative impact on preserving the custody and visitation rights you are seeking.
For your best advantage during divorce proceedings, your safest bet is to refrain from dating until your divorce is finalized. To help you in navigating the separation and divorce process, consult with an experienced divorce attorney with a proven track record. Hunter Law Firm has a team of experienced divorce lawyers ready fight for your best interests during your divorce. Serving all of Hampton Roads, Hunter Law Firm is here to provide you sound legal counsel to guide you through the divorce process. To discuss your divorce with one of our experienced lawyers, contact us online or call one of our four convenient offices.