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Dating Others After A Legal Separation: Is It Wise?

Dating Others After A Legal Separation: Is It Wise?

California is a no-fault state, which means that a spouse’s fault or wrongdoing should not have any impact on the terms of a divorce or separation, including property division and spousal support.

For example, the terms of your divorce or separation should not be used to punish you for dating another person while you are legally separated, but still married. Although the court cannot punish you for dating someone else, there may be some unintended consequences if you do.

If you are facing legal separation, divorce, or child custody issues, attorney Bruce A. Mandel can help. We represent clients in all areas of family law, and we will help you understand the potential consequences of your pre-divorce decisions and actions.

Legal Separation In California

Legal separation allows couples to divide property and debts and decide other matters such as child custody. This is similar to making decisions in the divorce process except that unlike divorce, the couple remains legally married following separation.

There are many reasons couples may decide to separate instead of divorce. For example, a couple may not be sure they want to end their marriage permanently, or one spouse may need to remain on the other spouse’s health insurance.

Potential Consequences Of Dating While Separated

As mentioned above, California is a no-fault state, which means that things like infidelity cannot be used against someone in a divorce case; however, dating while separated may have some unintended legal consequences.

Dating while you are separated may have a negative impact on your child custody case. If your child does not like the person you are dating or your child is mad at you for dating, the court may determine that it is in your child’s best interest to spend more time with your spouse than with you.

If your spouse is awarded greater child custody, he or she will probably also be awarded greater child support at your expense.

Even if dating would not impact child custody in your case, dating someone else could make your separation or divorce more emotional and contentious with your spouse. If your spouse is not as willing to compromise on terms, such as property division and spousal support, because of his or her anger, you may be in for a longer and more expensive separation and divorce.

Dating while you are still legally married may affect the terms of your spousal support settlement. For example, couples sometimes settle for a lump sum of spousal support to avoid a monthly payment obligation. If you marry or cohabitate with your new significant other, your spousal support award will be reduced or eliminated. With that in mind, if your spouse knows that you are dating, he or she may elect to make monthly support payments instead of one lump sum payment.

Legal Separation In California

If you are considering legal separation or divorce, an experienced attorney can help you navigate the California legal system and protect your rights. Attorney Bruce A. Mandel has represented clients in family law matters for close to three decades in California.

Contact our office at 424-250-9130 or online to schedule a consultation. See our Facebook page for additional information about our law firm and California family law.