As you embark on the process of filing for divorce, you are likely have a lot of questions.
These questions can range from the basics of finding a divorce attorney and how alimony, custody and child support work to questions you likely never thought you would be asking, such as “Can I date while going through a divorce in Illinois?”
While there is no law against dating while you are still legally married, our team of divorce lawyers typically recommends avoiding it because of the often adversarial (and expensive) nature of divorce cases with added complications.
Can you date? Yes. Should you date? No.
In this post, our experienced Illinois divorce attorneys discuss the legal requirements regarding divorce in Illinois and ways in which beginning a new relationship before your divorce is finalized can complicate matters.
Illinois is a No-Fault State
In 2016, Illinois joined most of the other states and became a no-fault divorce state. This means that spouses who are filing for divorce can no longer use adultery as the grounds for their divorce or use it to collect more spousal support.
However, having a romantic or sexual relationship outside the marriage during divorce proceedings may adversely affect the outcome of the divorce, especially matters relating to child custody and visitation or parenting time.
Spending money on your new (extramarital) boyfriend or girlfriend during a divorce may also cost you in more ways than one. This applies even if you think you using your own money. The court may take a different view and consider this to be a wrong use of marital funds.
Marital property is money or property you acquired after you were married even if it’s in your own name and not the other person’s name. There are some exceptions, but in most situations the money being spent is marital property.
So, if you spend any income on your new love interest, you should know that the court has the right to request that you reimburse marital accounts for these expenses or take a reduced share when the assets are divided.
Don’t be surprised if you have to reimburse the marital checking account if you spent money on these things in connection with a new boyfriend/girlfriend:
- Paying for dinner
- Paying for concerts
- Romantic getaways
- Buying flowers and other gifts
You may find yourself looking for ways to save money when you are newly divorced. Some people turn to moving in with their new boyfriend or girlfriend as a way to save cash for their new, independent life.
You’re divorced, you’re in a new and exciting relationship and money may be tight. Sharing living expenses is a win-win.
But, moving in with a new partner soon after filing divorce papers may only serve to anger your spouse and make the divorce a whole lot nastier than it has to be.
Additionally, cohabitating with your new partner has the potential to have a significant impact (in a bad way) on your right to spousal support.
Typically, the lesser-earning spouse is entitled to request temporary maintenance or alimony from the spouse that makes more money during the divorce process. But if the spouse who is awarded these funds moves in with his or her new love interest, that maintenance may be terminated or denied.
When it comes to the court, the judge will see your new live-in boyfriend/girlfriend as a support system and substitute that for some or all of financial support (alimony) you would be entitled to from your soon-to-be-ex-spouse.
Basically, your spousal support would be reduced or perhaps even eliminated altogether.
Contact Diamond Legal Today
In order to achieve the most favorable and fair outcome when it comes to your divorce filing and alimony and child support, we recommend waiting to start a new romantic relationship until your divorce has been finalized.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Diamond Legal for all of your divorce-related questions and legal counseling. Over the last 40 plus years, our established and respected law firm has helped hundreds of clients navigate the divorce process, custody battles, and other family law issues.
Our approach is streamlined, informative, communicative, and produces the best possible outcome for you, your children, and your finances.
DISCLAIMER: Any information contained herein is solely for informational purposes and is only applicable in the state of Illinois. While it is important that you educate yourself, nothing herein should be construed as legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. For specific questions, we urge you to contact a local attorney for advice pertaining to your specific legal needs.
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