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Can You Start Dating Before Your Divorce is Finalized?

One of the benefits of getting divorced is the ability to finally re-enter the dating scene in search of true love. However, dating before your Houston divorce is finalized is risky. It can definitely impact a final divorce settlement, in particular the division of community property and alimony.

If you date while married, it is still technically adultery, even when you are separated. For these reasons, our Galveston divorce attorney recommends holding off until you have a copy of your divorce decree in hand.

You Could Receive Less Community Property

Community property consists of anything you or your spouse obtained while married (with a few exceptions). And under Texas law, a couple’s community property is usually divided 50/50 in a divorce, so each spouse gets an equal share.

Unfortunately, infidelity can result in a disproportionate award in favor of the spouse who didn’t cheat. It is one factor that a judge will consider. A judge will be more inclined to make a disproportionate award where the cheating spouse spent money on their new romantic interest, such as buying jewelry or paying for weekend getaways. To reduce the risk of receiving less than half of your community property, it’s important to avoid having other partners. If you have any questions about this, a marital property division lawyer in Galveston can help.

Infidelity Could Impact Spousal Support

Spousal support is a sum of money one spouse pays to the other after divorce, usually in the form of monthly payments. Texas has strict laws about who can qualify for alimony. In many cases, you can only get support if you were married for at least 10 years.

However, when it comes to setting the amount and duration of support, a judge looks at many factors. Under Texas Family Code section 8.052, marital misconduct such as infidelity is definitely one of the factors.

Of course, each judge weighs marital misconduct differently. The fact that you committed adultery doesn’t mean your ex will get the maximum alimony payment allowable under the law, or even the amount they request. But it is still a factor a judge can consider, and it might result in you paying more money to your ex than you otherwise would have.

Infidelity Could Impact Child Custody

Generally, infidelity will not impact a child custody award. However, that isn’t to say it never matters. As with everything else in a divorce, it depends on the particular facts.

For example, your new partner could have a violent history or a drug problem. If you are living with this person, a judge might consider these facts when deciding whether to award you custody. Judges look to place your children in a stable, healthy environment, and a new partner who is violent or a criminal is sending the wrong signal.

Infidelity could also come into play if you abandoned your children at all to be with a new partner. A judge will not look kindly on that and will probably hold it against you.

Speak with Tad Nelson Today

League City divorce attorney Tad Nelson guides clients through the bewildering divorce process so that they emerge ready to build the lives they have always wanted. If you have a question about dating or a similar issue, please call his law office to speak with an attorney.