Can You Date Someone While Going Through a Divorce?
When your unhappy marriage ends, you may be eager to find a relationship that does a better job of making you feel happy and fulfilled. After all, few couples reach the point of divorce without spending months or years fighting and growing apart. Once you and your spouse have filed for divorce, you’re finally free to explore new relationships—or are you? While you may no longer be in a relationship, dating while your divorce case is ongoing can bring undesirable consequences and, in some instances, may not be worth the trouble. Learn more about the consequences of dating during a divorce below, and speak with an Illinois divorce attorney if you need advice about how to proceed in your own breakup.
Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, but there may be other consequences
Before your divorce is final, romantic or sexual relationships with anyone other than your spouse is considered adultery—and, while rarely prosecuted, it’s also a class A misdemeanor in Illinois and 19 other states. In 2016, Illinois joined the majority of states in becoming a no-fault divorce state. This means that divorcing spouses may no longer use adultery as the grounds for a divorce, nor use it to collect more in spousal support as a punitive measure.
Despite being a no-fault state, being in a relationship with someone other than a spouse during your divorce can still change the outcome of your case. One important effect could be a claim that you have dissipated marital assets. If you and your ex are still sharing accounts or have not yet undergone a division of property, income you earn while still married is considered to be marital property. If you spend that income on extramarital relationships, such as by purchasing gifts for a new boyfriend or girlfriend, or taking them on trips, the court may require you to reimburse marital accounts for this spending or take a reduced share in a division of assets.
Moving in with a new partner can affect alimony
Many divorcing spouses are desperate for ways to save money during a split, and living with a new partner may seem like the perfect way to reduce expenses. Cohabiting with a new partner could have a major impact on your right to spousal support–aside from the fact that it may also hurt and anger your spouse, making your divorce far more contentious than it might have been otherwise. The court will view the support you’re getting from a live-in romantic partner as a substitute for the support you would need from your former spouse, and will reduce (or eliminate) that support accordingly.
If you have questions about how best to protect your rights during an Illinois divorce, contact the dedicated and compassionate Chicago family law attorneys at Johnson, Westra, Broecker, Whittaker and Newitt for a consultation at 630-665-9600.