Dating while a divorce is pending should be avoided. The benefits rarely justify the detrimental effect on you personally and on your legal case. The Angry Spouse. A case which might otherwise have been settled easily, amicably and inexpensively often turns into a difficult, acrimonious and very expensive battle when one of the parties starts dating. Yes, you have the right to date, but you also must bear the significant consequences of that decision. Your dating a new person may cause your spouse to become irrational and filled with a desire for revenge. Your spouse will use your dating as evidence that the divorce was caused by you and your new friend (even if it is not true and even if you did not meet your friend until after the two of you had already separated). It does not matter whether your spouse's anger over your dating is fair or not.
Married but dating another person during a Texas Divorce
That anger will make the case much more difficult to settle, and it will drive up the cost of your divorce, perhaps dramatically. Your spouse may openly or subtly try to alienate the children, relatives and friends against you. Your dating will naturally have a tendency to cause your children to be alienated from you, sometimes dramatically and irreparably alienated. The children will feel you abandoned their other parent, and they will sympathize with and align with the other parent. Also, they will tend not to accept your new friend even though they might have willingly embraced that new friend if you had waited until after the divorce to start dating.
Your Personal Wellbeing. While a divorce is pending, and for many months thereafter, a person goes through tremendous emotional and psychological changes. The impact of your dating during divorce on your legal proceedings can be devastating on many levels. Effect on Child Support and Spousal Support. Dating will not normally have an effect on an award of child or spousal support however, if you move in with your friend, this decision will almost certainly adversely impact you in the area of support.
Texas State Law Library
If you are the spouse who is likely to be ordered to pay spousal support, the court will view you as having more money available to you to pay support to your spouse because you are sharing expenses with your friend (house payment, utilities, etc. ). The decision to live with someone while a spousal support case is pending could cost you many tens of thousands of dollars over the duration of the spousal support award. If you are the person who is likely to receive a spousal support award, living with your friend and sharing expenses means that you do not need as much spousal support. It could cost you not only many thousands of dollars in reduced spousal support, your decision could result in no spousal support being awarded.
In the area of child support awards, when a person lives with someone else and shares expenses, the court can use that fact (and often does) as a basis to set the child support obligation higher (when the obligor is living with someone) or lower (when the obligee is living with someone). This is called a deviation from the presumed level of support according to the state guidelines for child support. The court does not actually add together into the support calculation the income of the parent and the live-in friend. The court is considering that an obligor with a live-in friend has more money available to pay support and an obligee with a live-in friend does not need as much support. Judges tend to be conservative and the type of people who are not necessarily impressed with someone who begins dating shortly after the parties separated when children are involved.
Judges always try to be fair, but a judge's gut reaction towards you could possibly sway the judge in making his final decision about the level or duration of support or about property division issues. You do not want to put yourself in a position of having a judge not like or respect you because of what the judge might consider to be poor decision making on your part. My advice to you is simple. DO NOT DATE DURING DIVORCE AND CERTAINLY DO NOT LIVE WITH A GIRLFRIEND OR BOYFRIEND DURING THE DIVORCE. If you feel you must date, be as discreet as possible, preferably not allowing anyone to know you are dating.
Wait until a reasonable time after the divorce is over before introducing your friend to your children. Do not blame your spouse for becoming irrationally angry and your children for becoming resentful and alienated from you.