If you have been living separate and apart from your spouse for quite some time and are now in the process of planning for divorce, you might be wondering: can I date during my divorce? The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) does not have anything in it that says a person cannot date during a divorce. As such, there is no Illinois law that prohibits spouses from dating during a divorce, or that prevents either spouse from dating during a divorce. However, you should know that even though you may be allowed legally to date other people while your divorce is ongoing, doing so can have negative repercussions in your divorce case. To be clear, just because you can date during your divorce does not mean you should. Our Illinois divorce attorneys will explain.
Dissipation of Marital Assets
If you begin dating prior to or during your divorce case, and before the court has divided marital assets and debts, your spouse might bring up the issue of dissipation. The dissipation of marital assets involves one spouse using marital property solely for his or her own benefit. If you are spending money on dates, your spouse might say that these dating expenses constitute dissipation, and it could affect your divorce case. Accordingly, while there is no rule against dating, doing so could ultimately affect the distribution of marital property.
Spousal Maintenance Considerations
Dating during your divorce could have a more significant impact on spousal maintenance. If you are seeking spousal maintenance, you should know that the court considers a variety of factors to determine whether or not spousal maintenance is appropriate under the circumstances. Some of the factors it considers include:
- Income and property of the parties;
- Needs of each party; and
- All sources of income for each party.
If you are dating and you have made plans to move in with a new partner, or you have a new partner who is helping you with bills or even paying for most of your recreational activities, the court may determine that spousal maintenance is not necessary and might not award it. If you need spousal maintenance in order to get back on your feet, dating during the divorce could prove problematic.
Best Interests of the Child and the Allocation of Parental Responsibilities
In some cases, dating during your divorce could also affect your child custody case. When the court allocates parental responsibilities, it focuses on a variety of factors to determine what kind of allocation of significant decision-making responsibilities and parenting time is in the best interests of the child. If you are dating someone and it affects your ability to cooperate with the other parent or to participate in the child’s life, or if you are dating someone with a history of violence, then your child custody case could be impacted.
Contact Our Divorce Lawyers in Illinois
If you have questions about your rights and responsibilities during a divorce case, including your ability to date or engage in other activities, you should seek advice from one of our Illinois divorce attorneys. We can speak with you today about your case. Contact Arami Law, Inc. for more information.