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Your Divorce is Final: Are You Ready to Date Again?

It is not recommended that individuals going through a divorce date while their divorces are pending. But what about dating once the divorce is finalized? You have the right to continue your love life and find a new partner who makes you happy, right?

Absolutely. But dating after a divorce can carry emotional and legal baggage that dating individuals who have not previously been married do not face. Ask yourself if you are truly emotionally ready to begin a new romantic relationship and handle all of its possible outcomes, including ending badly. If you are a parent, you also have to think about the impact a new relationship will have on your children and whether starting one will complicate your relationships with them, especially if your potential new partner has children, as well. Do not be scared away from starting a new relationship, but do consider all of the issues that a new relationship can bring into your life as a divorced individual.

Consider the Legal Implications of a New Relationship

It is not illegal for a divorced individual to date again. But moving in with a new partner can change your income, which can change your eligibility to continue to receive spousal maintenance from your previous partner.

If your former spouse determines that you have experienced changed circumstances necessitating a reduction or end to your spousal maintenance agreement, he or she must prove this to the court. If you marry your new partner, your spousal maintenance agreement is terminated unless your divorce settlement specifically states that this event would not terminate such an agreement.

Agreements regarding your children’s custody and visitation time are made based upon what the court feels is in their best interest. If your former partner alleges that your new partner is abusive, involved in criminal activities, addicted to any type of substance, or otherwise poses a threat to your child’s physical, emotional, or mental well being, he or she may challenge your current parenting agreement to seek more time with your child. Keep this in mind if you decide to move in with a new partner or if you are simply considering having a new partner meet your child – if his or her presence could negatively impact your child in any way, it might not be a good relationship to pursue.

Work with a Divorce Lawyer

Only you know when it is time to start dating again after ending your marriage. Some people are ready to seek a new love before their divorce is finalized while others wait months, years, and even decades before dating again. To ensure that you are not jeopardizing the terms of your divorce settlement with your new relationship, speak with an experienced La Crosse divorce attorney. Our team at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd can answer questions you have about dating after your divorce and your options if your former spouse uses your new relationship as a reason to challenge your existing spousal maintenance or parenting agreement.

Published April 26, 2016
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