Dating Before the Divorce is Final

Posted by Jonathan Jerkins | Feb 14, 2018 | 0 Comments

There are a number of reasons why a couple may decide it's time to separate. This could include a lack of communication, financial problems, infidelity, or the couple may have simply grown too far apart over time. When the relationship ends, each spouse may be looking for a new person to help give them what was lacking in their previous relationship. However, there can be some problems with moving on too quickly before the divorce is final.

In many cases, dating while separated is harmless. The spouse may also be already dating, the separated couple lives far apart, or they don't ask or care about the new relationship. However, in highly contested divorces, the issue of dating someone else could cause anger and contempt, especially if infidelity was a reason for the couple breaking up.

Before a couple can be legally divorced in North Carolina, they have to live apart for one year. During this separation, it may feel like the couple is practically divorced. However, until the divorce becomes finalized, the couple is still considered legally married under state law. Starting another relationship before the divorce is finalized could cost money and complicate divorce negotiations.

During a divorce, spouses have to make important decisions about some of the most important aspects of their life, including child custody, child support, and how to divide the marital property. These decisions will not only affect the individual spouse, but it can also affect the children, friends, and family members. With so much at stake, it is easy for amicable discussions to turn sour.

There is always potential for pain and anger when a spouse begins a relationship with another person. If the spouse is aware of the relationship before the divorce is finalized, anger about the relationship could make it much more difficult to talk about who will be taking care of the children, sharing custody, and who will get the family home.

When a divorce is contested and the couple has to go to court, the judge's opinion towards infidelity could also have an impact on how property is divided or how much spousal support is awarded. Marital misconduct can be a factor in determining alimony.

Technically, having an intimate relationship with another person while legally married is adultery. Adultery remains a misdemeanor crime in North Carolina. While it is highly unlikely that a divorcing spouse would ever be arrested for adultery, there is a civil cause of action if another person could be blamed for causing the divorce. North Carolina is one of the few states with an “alienation of affection and criminal conversion” law that allows a spouse to sue another person for breaking up the marriage.

Jerkins Family Law

If you are separated and have any questions about how a new relationship might affect your divorce, please do not hesitate to call Jerkins Family Law for assistance. We are committed to providing the passionate representation you and your family need. We can help make sure your interests are protected after a divorce or separation. Visit our dedicated divorce page and contact us today so we can guide you to a better solution.

About the Author

Jonathan Jerkins

Jonathan "Jay" Jerkins, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, intentionally focuses his practice on all aspects of North Carolina family law litigation and negotiations. Jay was admitted to the practice of law in North Carolina in 2014.


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