Do I have the right to date while I’m getting divorced?

I’m often asked if it’s all right to date before a divorce is completed. I always give the same answer. You absolutely have a right to date while you’re getting divorced.

It’s also clear that you’re a fool if you do. Why do I say this?

Even with the most amicable divorce, feelings are strained. You may feel remorseful. You may feel angry. You may feel hurt. Whatever you’re feeling, it doesn’t feel good.

And these feelings prompt one main desire—to get through the muck of divorce so that you can move on with your life. Correct?

Sure, you may be married to someone who may not care. He or she may be open-minded and tolerant. Or maybe in his or her mind your new love interest will distract you and make you less difficult. (Why is it always you who’s “difficult?”) Or maybe your marriage is so played out that to your partner it just makes no earthly difference what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with.

But I don’t know that. I know nothing about your spouse other than what you tell me. So even if your spouse is that one in a hundred that would think nothing of your seeing someone before all is final, I don’t know that.

What’s a divorce lawyer to do? I have to play the averages. I have to tell you that dating will likely serve to raise emotional temperatures. Your spouse will then be that much less interested in discussing matters, in compromising, or in doing much of anything to make this phase of your life easier.

On top of this, your dating life could upset your children (even if they’re older), which could further upset your spouse. And all of this will come to haunt you in your effort to get through everything.

After you’re divorced, you have a right to do what you’d like with anyone you’d like to do it with. But until your divorce is over, can’t it wait?

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