Is it Legal to Date While My Virginia Divorce is Still Pending?
The question of whether or not it’s legal to date during a Virginia divorce is one that Leesburg divorce attorneys get asked quite often. Unlike some other states, Virginia does not recognize legal separation. However, there is no law on the books that specifically prohibits you from dating while still legally married.
But, just because there is no law that prohibits it, it doesn’t mean you should be doing it. While Virginia may not recognize legal separation, it does recognize adultery. It is a misdemeanor crime, but the state rarely ever prosecutes it. It’s important to understand that it’s a possibility though. These are some of the things your Virginia family law attorney will discuss when you meet to go over your case.
Dating Could Impact Some Court Decisions
Like previously noted, dating while your divorce is pending is not specifically against the law. It is however likely to impact some important court decisions in regard to your divorce and/or custody battle. If your ex is alleging adultery, dating while still legally married can certainly be considered when the judge is making some determinations in your case.
The first area where dating can impact your divorce is with property distribution. Proof of adultery could cause the judge to make a decision that leaves more property to the non-cheating spouse. Virginia uses the theory of equitable distribution, which means the court looks to split marital property and debts in a fair and equitable manner. If the court believes one spouse used marital assets on the person they had the affair with or on the new person they are dating, then the not-at-fault spouse might receive a larger share of the marital property.
Adultery or dating while married could affect spousal support too. Virginia courts may opt not to award spousal support to the person who cheated or is currently in a new relationship. On the other hand, the court may decide to award the non-cheating spouse a higher amount. There are numerous factors that go into determining the spousal support amount. This is one of the reasons it’s so important to have a skilled Leesburg divorce attorney on your side.
Lastly, seeing someone else while still married could impact child custody as well. In some cases, one spouse may push for physical custody because he or she does not want their child around a new partner so suddenly. If the person you are bringing home does drugs or is abusive, the court is likely to have serious reservations in awarding any custody.
Dating Can Impact Settlement Negotiations
If you are trying to work on settling outstanding issues with your ex, dating during this time can derail any chance at an amicable resolution. Your ex may be inclined to hold out or let their jealousy get the best of them. This means there may be a serious breakdown in communication, and that can result in the court having to decide on everything.
Contact a Virginia Family Law Attorney
If you need assistance with an upcoming or pending divorce, contact the Leesburg divorce attorneys at Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC today to schedule an initial consultation.