The short answer is yes, you may date other people while legally separated from your spouse and waiting for your divorce to be finalized, but it might affect different legal rights during the divorce proceedings that may be important to you. In North Carolina, the laws regarding dating before a divorce is finalized can be complex and depend entirely on the facts of a particular situation, so it is extremely important to consult with a qualified family law attorney to understand how these laws apply to your specific situation.
Engaging in a romantic or sexual relationship with someone other than your spouse before your divorce is finalized can potentially have implications in the divorce proceedings. It may impact the court’s rulings on matters such as spousal support and child custody. Judges may not find it advisable to introduce children to new partners very soon after separation, so they may find in favor of a spouse who is not dating during the time of divorce proceedings. Further, if dating while awaiting divorce finalization would upset your spouse, it may create animosity during the negotiation of property division, which leads to complications and undesirable results for everyone. This is why it is essential to consult with a local attorney who can provide accurate legal advice based on the specific details of your situation and the current laws in North Carolina.
Further, North Carolina is a state that recognizes “alienation of affection” and “criminal conversation” as legal grounds for a lawsuit related to a spouse’s extramarital relationships. These lawsuit grounds, if sought by your ex-spouse, may negatively affect your relationship and your romantic partner both financially and emotionally. If you begin dating soon after legally separating from your spouse, an upset spouse may suspect or accuse you and the third party of committing adultery during the marriage. Alienation of affection allows a spouse to sue a third party who they believe caused the breakdown of the marital relationship. Criminal conversation allows a spouse to sue a third party who engaged in sexual intercourse with their spouse while still legally married. While proof of these allegations may be necessary, it is always smart to err on the side of caution and seek help from a qualified family law attorney before jumping into a relationship right away.
Divorce laws can vary, and different judges may reach different results on the same laws, so it’s crucial for you to seek professional legal advice to understand how the laws apply to your circumstances and protect your rights. At King Law Offices, we understand the challenges involved in any family law matter. Our experienced family law attorneys understand how to apply the broad rules to your unique situation to get the best result for you. Our goal is to help guide you through this process and listen to your concerns. Contact King Law at 888-748-KING (5464) for a consultation. We have offices located across western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina. We are here to serve you and guide you as we navigate this journey together.