Written By: Lisa Fantone
When you are going through the process of divorce, is it “legal” to date other people?
Without a doubt, the very best advice is to wait until the divorce is final, even though that final day may seem so far off in the future.
If, however, you see things differently, during divorce proceedings it’s your choice to date, socialize, live. Ohio is a “no-fault” state, which means this activity is not likely to result in financial punishment by the Court. BUT, if you do choose to date, you must take it slow.
If you do decide to get out and live, you must be discreet, and this is even more important if you have minor children. While your “fun” may not impact some financial portions of the divorce, it certainly can affect the parenting plan, and additionally, it may make the process more drawn out and longer than it really needs to be, substantially raising the fees you will pay to your attorney. Consider a divorcing husband learning that his wife is “going out” with other men. He has seen evidence on social media, or maybe friends have told him they’ve seen her out. If the divorce is progressing smoothly until this point, the embarrassment or anger he feels may compel him to slow things down or to throw up roadblocks where previously there were none. When your attorney has to fight battles she never saw coming, your attorney fees are sure to skyrocket.
Children should spend parenting time with parents
Socialize and date only when the kids are with the other parent. Under no circumstances should children be introduced, even tangentially, to a paramour. Children should spend their parenting time with parents and family only, as this will reduce confusion, anger and hurt. We have had clients rush into the “blended family” situation, only to learn that it’s a situation that is fraught with its own challenges. If or when another break-up occurs, not only are the adults devastated, but then the children are once again forced to deal with more loss and grief.
Get out of town
“Discreet” also means avoiding your usual places, restaurants, bars, etc. Travel a little out of the way so that you don’t run into friends, family and neighbors. It’s essential to stay off of Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms – post no pictures, no updates, and no check-ins.
Kids are even more technologically savvy than adults, as most would acknowledge. Imagine your child discovering your posts – or your child’s friends finding them. What will your child think and feel when his friends are showing him pictures … of you, dolled up and out on the town … or worse?
Intimate relationships are incredibly complex; no one really needs to be told that. Even if both parties are ready to end the marriage, intense residual emotions can cause havoc – and there is truth in “hell hath no fury like a woman (or man!) scorned.”