Of course, your mind is filled with questions about what to do next. Am I entitled to post-separation support (pss) or alimony? Sure, it's the question we all want to ask but are too embarrassed to come out and say, "Can I date while I'm separated? Your attorney is not going judge you (and if they do, you need to find a new attorney right away).Am I going to be required to pay pss or alimony, and, if so, how much? " Remember all throughout school when everyone told you, "There's no such thing as a dumb question"? The most important thing you can do right now is be informed. But, you might also be wondering, how soon can I move on?
Beginning a new relationship before your divorce is finalized has emotional, strategic and legal consequences. My suggested answer – my advice to you – would be: don't do it!
While I believe you should deeply consider the emotional aspect of entering into a new relationship before you are legally divorced -- the emotional effect on you, your children, other family members, and even your spouse -- I won't address that in this forum. Realistically, many people are in relationships at the time of the final divorce decree.
I am not versed in psychology or counseling, and I suggest you seek out someone licensed to deal with those emotional issues before entering into a new relationship. Realistically, you are an adult and no one wants to be alone.
However, I will discuss the legal and strategic consequences. But, I would advise you to think long and hard before entering into relationship before you are divorced, and to remember, if the "new" person in your life really cares about you, he or she will understand the situation and can wait the few months until your divorce is final. Here's why: The bottom line is this: until your divorce is final, you are still legally married. Even though you have a separation agreement, in the eyes of the law, you are still legally married and, therefore, not free to date.
Furthermore, your relationship can also affect your "new" person adversely and cause legal consequences for that person, which I will briefly talk about at the end of this article. How can a relationship prior to your divorce effect custody?
Besides these legal issues, your relationship may rub your current spouse the wrong way which could lead to a break down in negotiations and the willingness of your current spouse to cooperate. When you're sitting in court, your attorney will direct your legal argument.But the truth is, no matter how hard your attorney argues on your behalf, there is another attorney arguing just as hard on the other end, and if they can bring up your new relationship, believe me, they will.Now, I don't mean to scare you, but let's think worse-case scenario here.In North Carolina, sexual relations with someone other than your spouse is a crime, and adultery is technically a misdemeanor.Now, that is the worse-case scenario, and hopefully an unlikely scenario.However, what is more likely to happen is for the new relationship to have negative effects on issues such as alimony, child support, child custody and visitation, and the negotiations process.