How to date before a divorce is final

Updated February 21, 2017

Divorce is a difficult and emotional time for everyone involved, and according to your case and where you live it can be a lengthy process as well. During that time chances are that you will meet someone that you find attractive and may want to pursue a dating relationship with. If your divorce isn't final, but you are considering returning to the dating scene early, you should realise that there are potential pitfalls that await you if you choose that path versus waiting until your marriage is legally over.

Check with your attorney. Even if your divorce is not taking place in an at-fault state, your attorney may have strong feelings towards whether you are best served dating at this time or waiting until the divorce is final. Respect your attorney's opinion on how dating will impact the important issues of your divorce such as child custody.

Consider the ramifications. Although you are going through a divorce and may not live together, legally you are still a married couple. Dating while married is considered adultery and is illegal in many states. Although you are not likely to get arrested for dating while married, it may be frowned upon by your church and family members. If there are children involved, then you should take into consideration what effect this will have on them. Children will likely harbour resentment and anger towards the spouse that is dating and see it as the reason that their parents are no longer together.

Be as discreet as possible. No matter who instigated the divorce, it can be hard to see or hear that your spouse is dating someone else. Emotions for a person that you have been married to don't always completely disappear overnight and the other half of your divorce may still hold onto hopes that the marriage can be saved. An unwelcome wake-up call that the marriage really is over, could turn an amicable divorce into a sour one. Avoid places where you and your spouse frequented and don't share your new relationship with your children.

Don't rush it. Avoid jumping into an intense relationship while you are still married even if it feels right. Often times relationships that start on the heels of divorce don't survive the emotional and life changes that you are going through. Avoid any misunderstandings by being honest with your date and letting her know that you are in the process of a divorce and that you want to keep your dating as light as possible.


If you must date, wait until it is closer to the time of your finalised divorce.


Moving in with the person that you are dating could have a negative effect on giving or receiving spousal support, child support and even gaining custody of your children.

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About the Author

Mai Bryant is a Northern California writer who specializes in writing about health-related topics, fashion and relationships. She began writing online in 2005 but has freelanced privately for more than 10 years. Bryant's eclectic professional background as a medical technician, a licensed cosmetologist, copywriter and event planner allows her to write with authority on numerous topics.