Can I Date Before My Divorce Is Finalized?

Written by Jonathan Breeden

July 26, 2018

While there is nothing legally preventing you from dating before your divorce is finalized, it is important to understand that your actions leading up to and during North Carolina’s mandatory one-year separation period can affect the outcome of your divorce settlement.

If you are separated and contemplating dating, contact a North Carolina divorce lawyer who can help you continue living your life while protecting your rights. To schedule a consultation of your case with an experienced divorce attorney, contact Breeden Law Office at (919) 661-4970 today.

Are You Truly Separated?

Separation has a distinct meaning under North Carolina law. In order to divorce in the state, you and your spouse must legally separate for one year before divorce proceedings can take place. The date of the legal separation is when you both live under separate roofs, and one of you has no intention to reconcile.

To legally separate, simply living in different parts of your marital home is not good enough. You must maintain separate residences. Even if you and your spouse both want to divorce and mutually decide that it makes sense to continue living together, you have not met the requirements to divorce.

You Should Not Date Before Your Separation

If you begin seeing someone else without meeting the residency and separation requirements, you could be accused of committing adultery. You want to avoid this at all costs, because accusations like this will likely impact your divorce settlement.

If you do decide to date after your period of separation/while your divorce proceedings are going on, however, there are a number of things you need to consider, including:

  • Keep your relationship off the internet. Some people view it as fun to update their relationship status on Facebook, or to post a photo with their new significant other on Instagram or Twitter. You should avoid doing this, though, as a bitter ex could use this information to make divorce proceedings more difficult.
  • Consider your children. If you decide to date after your period of separation, it is important to remember your children. If you or your spouse flaunt your dating lives in front of each other in an attempt to get back at each other, your kids could pick up on this. Leave your son(s) and daughter(s) out of what could potentially be a major point of contention with your ex.

    If you have questions about what conduct and actions are lawful during a period of separation and while a divorce is still in court, contact a divorce lawyer at Breeden Law Office today.

    Consider a Post-Separation Agreement

    Even if you are living apart from your spouse and you’ve communicated to them your desire to divorce, you should proceed with caution as you enter the dating scene. You do not want to do anything that could lead the court to believe that you were romantically involved with another party prior to or during your separation.

    In addition, you may want to consider creating a post-separation agreement, which is a contract between you and your spouse that can include, among other things, how dating will be handled during the separation period. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you draft a post-separation agreement and explain how can be enforced.

    Contact a Divorce Lawyer for Help Today

    No one ever imagines themselves in the midst of a divorce. The emotional toll combined with custody issues and financial considerations is a lot to handle. When you’re facing the end of your marriage and need legal counsel, look no further than Breeden Law Office. We know the law surrounding divorce and separation in North Carolina, and we’re prepared to help you with your unique situation.

    Contact us today at (919) 661-4970 to schedule an initial case consultation.


Divorce In North Carolina: What You Need To Know

A book by Jonathan Breeden