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Dating During a Divorce and Illinois Divorce Law

The Gitlin Law Firm, P.C., Woodstock, Illinois    © 2013

Q:Based upon your Q&A about adultery, I learned that other than giving my spouse the right to a divorce, adultery is not relevant. Doesn't this mean that I can date while going though a divorce?

A:The legal and the practical answers differ. The legal answer is that you can date while going through a divorce. The practical answer is that you should not date while going through a divorce.

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Q:Why are you against dating during a divorce? Is this advice due to moral reasons?

A:The advice I give is for practical reasons. Divorce lawyers tend to put things bluntly. As part of a national program which I have co-chaired, one lawyer from Alabama used a term which I have borrowed. He referred to a “stupidity quotient.” He stated that this stupidity quotient is a measure of how much each time a party dated impacted on the total cost of the litigation. The cost of litigation does not necessarily depend on the amount of the estate. Instead, the cost of the litigation depends on how much is contested between the parties. My experience is that parties who feel wronged due to infidelity make the divorce process much more expensive. Thus, if you want to save money on a divorce, you will wait to date until after the divorce.

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Q:Are there other reasons that you are opposed to dating before a divorce?

A:Yes. It should go without saying that individuals who are going through a divorce are “on the rebound.” Accordingly, it is generally believed that it is not a good idea to commit to a significant relationship until after a divorce. However, this reason does not enter into my steadfast opposition to dating during a divorce. My overwhelming reasoning in this regard is my experience as to the cost of litigation.

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Q:Well, isn't it OK if I am just friends with another woman but don't actually date her? My wife believes that we are dating, but we are just good friends. What is wrong with this?

A:I tell clients that it is not the objective reality (whether it actually happened) that matters as to the cost of a divorce. What matters is the spouse's subjective belief (whether your spouse believes something may have happened). Therefore, if a spouse believes (even wrongfully) that you are dating, often this fact alone will increase the cost of a divorce.

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Q:Aren't there other firms who have no problem with their clients dating during a divorce?

A:Yes.  The fact is that the approach of divorce lawyers differs as to this issue.  For example of one web site which spells out the negatives of dating during a divorce, click hereFor a Q&A from a mental health professional on dating when the parties have minor children, click here for an article from the Family Education web siteFor a view from North Carolina (which has significantly stricter views as to this issue as compared to Illinois), click here.    My belief is that the best lawyers who handle divorce cases realize the added financial costs that are often incurred because there is a boyfriend or girlfriend during the divorce proceedings.  The goal of the Gitlin Law Firm, P.C., is to provide legal services as cost-effectively as is possible and we have found that it is generally not possible if there is a dating relationship.

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Q:But my spouse is dating someone for a long time now -- so why shouldn't I date during a divorce?

A:For several reasons.  Many times when a spouse is dating and you are not, that spouse may harbor feelings of guilt which may make him or her be fairer with respect to a pending divorce.  Also some people have double standards believing it may be OK for him or her to date but it is not OK for the spouse to date.

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Q:We are not yet divorced but are separated.  What about introducing our children to my significant other.  We don't have a sexual relationship and are just good friends.  What is your advice? 

A:Generally, most courts (but not all) will not dictate whether people can have their children spend time with a significant before the divorce.  But my advice is that doing so is a bad idea for a variety of reasons.  See the Gitlin Law Firm's Q&A regarding Do's and Dont's regarding Children in Divorce Cases

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Q:What about online dating and divorce?   

A:A recent survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers said 59 percent of the nation's top divorce attorneys have seen an increase in the number of cases using evidence taken from dating websites during the past three years.  Sixty-four percent of respondents said Match.com was the top website cited in online dating website evidence, followed by 9 percent who said eHarmony and 27 percent who listed other choices. According to the then President of the AAML, ""Dating website users can often face temptation to embellish some personal information on profiles, but this lack of honesty could prove costly for someone in the middle of a divorce or child custody case."  Click here for further information.   

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The Gitlin Law Firm, P.C., provides the above information as a service to potential and current clients. A person's accessing the information contained in this web site, is not considered as retaining The Gitlin Law Firm for any case nor is it considered as providing legal advice. The Gitlin Law Firm cannot guarantee the outcome of any case.

The Gitlin Law Firm, P.C.
Practice Limited to Family Law
663 East Calhoun Street
Woodstock, IL 60098


Gitlin Law Firm, P.C.

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