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Can you date while getting a divorce?

A lot of clients want to know if they can date even though their divorce isn't final. It's human nature to want to reach out to other people and find a lifelong companion, so the desire to find someone new when your old relationship is clearly over is certainly understandable.

As the saying goes, you certainly can date while you're getting a divorce, but should you? Frankly, you're better off waiting. Here's why:

Legal complications can abound

Illinois is one of the few states that still has a statute in force that makes adultery a crime -- so prosecution is possible (albeit rare). You could face a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

In addition, if you spend any joint money celebrating your new love, you may be accused of the dissipation of marital assets -- or "wasting" money that's partially your spouse's on someone else. You could be required to pay that money back to your spouse in the split, especially if it is a significant amount.

Practical complications may be worse

The other reason that it's generally better to avoid dating during a divorce is that it's somewhat akin to poking a bear. Unless your spouse has fully accepted the divorce and you have a very good relationship, it's likely to cause a lot of hurt and angry feelings. Your spouse could respond by dragging out the process, battling over every little aspect of the divorce.

You could also endanger your custody rights if children are involved. The character of anybody you bring into your children's lives could be a consideration in the judge's mind when making decisions. The fact that your time and attention is being taken from the kids could also be problematic.

If you're ready to move forward with your life, talk to someone today about how to get a divorce.

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