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Can you date during a divorce in Illinois?

 Posted on April 28, 2023 in Divorce


You’re getting divorced, but it feels like the process is taking a long time. For one thing, you and your spouse were separated for six months before you even started the official divorce process. Prior to that, the two of you weren’t getting along. Now the divorce itself is taking nearly a year to complete.

In other words, you feel like you’ve basically been out of a relationship for two years. You are technically not divorced yet, but you’re wondering if it’s OK for you to start dating. Can you start another romantic relationship before your marriage ends?

It’s legal, but problematic

Legally speaking, you don’t have to worry about being arrested. It’s not illegal to date during your divorce. The court isn’t going to “punish” you for starting another relationship.

But it can be problematic for a few reasons. For one thing, it can just make the divorce more contentious. If you want things to go smoothly, it may be best to wait to begin dating someone new until after the divorce has concluded.

There are some situations in which your new partner can actually influence the divorce process. For example, maybe your ex is accusing you of dissipating family assets by spending them on your new relationship. Or maybe your ex claims that your new partner isn’t safe for the children and so you shouldn’t have custody. The court will always focus on the child’s best interests, and that may mean considering your new partner.

These are just a few examples of how relationships can get complicated. Make sure you take the time to carefully consider all of your legal options.

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