For purposes of divorce in North Carolina, spouses must live separate and apart with the intent to divorce for one year. Often, clients wonder if they can date while they are separated.

You may date someone once you and your spouse are living separate and apart.  At that point, although, there is no legal reason why you can’t date, there are some good reasons to delay getting involved with someone new.

  1. You don’t want to bring emotional baggage into a new relationship.

If you and your spouse are experiencing some anger towards each other, it may be best to wait until the divorce is finalized to begin dating.  Until you both can move past the hurt and anger that you are experiencing, you might not be ready to start a new relationship.  It will be hard to start something new with a clean slate if you are bringing a lot of emotional baggage into it.

  1. Your children might be impacted by a new relationship.

If you have children, you might consider putting dating on the back burner until they have come to grips with what is going on.  Children have a hard time with divorce and bringing someone new into the picture could make it even more difficult for them.

It is also important to note that who you date can have an impact on any custody case.  Make sure that if you start dating you have a full background of your significant other and that you have an honest understanding of any criminal charges or convictions that person may have.  During custody litigation your entire life is under a microscope and no relationship is worth making a custody battle more contentious.

  1. Dating can make a divorce settlement more difficult.

Additionally, if one of you start dating before the divorce has finalized, it might make coming to agreements more challenging.  If your spouse finds out that you have started dating, they may feel less inclined to be flexible in reaching a settlement or accuse you of being in a relationship prior to your separation.  In this case, you may have to resort to going to court to settle your divorce, which can be costly and time consuming.  If you feel like you and your spouse can work out the terms of your divorce on your own, it might be best to postpone dating until all is settled.

If you have any questions regarding your separation or divorce, contact our experienced Raleigh Family Law Attorney today!

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