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Can you date before your Illinois divorce is final?

The short answer: Yes. Getting yourself back out there is not illegal while still finalizing your divorce. Illinois courts simplified their divorce provisions in 2016 by implementing a no-fault system. Cited as the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, this revised law outlines that you and your ex-partner must only prove that irreconcilable differences resulted in your marriage’s irretrievable breakdown. Consequently, the courts must also determine that any future reconciliation attempt is futile and does not serve your family’s best interests.

Therefore, no law prohibits you from going back to the dating scene. But should you date? This question may need a more comprehensive contemplation to produce a well-informed answer.

How dating impacts your pending divorce

Filing and finalizing your divorce may have taken longer than you hoped. It’s unsurprising if you seek a romantic connection with someone else as you try to stay level-headed during this ordeal. Even if your ex-partner shows amicable acceptance regarding your new relationship, dating anew may still impact your pending divorce negatively:

  • Spousal support: If you decide to take your new relationship more seriously and move in together, the court may consider this as cohabitation. There may be enough reasons for the reduction or complete elimination of alimony from your ex-partner.
  • Marital funds: The court may frame the expenditures for your romantic interest as “dissipation” or a waste of marital assets. You may have to reimburse the money you spent on dinner or gifts to your marital account.
  • Child custody: Your ex-partner may claim you’re irresponsible with your parental obligations because of your new romantic priorities. Your parenting time with your child may also suffer, causing your child to develop a deeper emotional turmoil. As a consequence, the court may question your moral fitness and reduce your chances of gaining custody.

As your divorce continuously becomes complicated, the longer and more costly the already drawn-out process becomes. Additionally, it may also strain your new relationship as it intertwines with your family’s challenging situation.

Finding the balance

Your past difficulties shouldn’t have to dictate what your future looks like. However, as there are layers of complexity involving people who matter most to you, it will help to consider your next move thoroughly. Your legal divorce team can help you balance what you can and should do amid this strenuous and emotionally draining season.

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