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Why you should hold off on romance until your divorce is final

Many people going through a divorce can't even think about the possibility of dating again. However, what if you meet the person you truly believe could be the new love of your life? Even if you're emotionally ready to become involved in a new relationship, doing so could harm your divorce and custody negotiations.

If you begin a new relationship, your estranged spouse could become more difficult to deal with. Even if he or she too is seeing someone else, people's feelings on these matters aren't always rational. You're risking making your negotiations regarding property division and spousal support more difficult.

Speaking of spousal support, if you begin living with someone, you won't be entitled to any. Even if you just have an occasional sleepover, why give your ex reason to argue that you and your new love are cohabitating?

It's important to know that Massachusetts maintains some of its puritanical laws from centuries past. Although it's rarely prosecuted, adultery is considered a felony here.

If you're seeking a lump-sum settlement rather than payments over time, your spouse may be less willing to go along with that plan if he or she thinks that you'll soon be cohabitating or remarrying.

If you have kids, getting into a new relationship, or even casual dating, soon after a separation can be distressing and confusing for them. They need their parents now more than ever (even if they tell you otherwise). While it's important to be personally happy and fulfilled, your focus should be on them.

From a more practical standpoint, entering into a new relationship can complicate your parenting arrangement. If you aren't the one with primary custody, your spouse may be less willing to give you more time with the kids if he or she thinks there will be another adult interacting with them, potentially as a surrogate mom or dad.

For all of these reasons and more, it's best to put off getting into a new relationship until your divorce is complete. Besides focusing on your kids and yourself, making wise decisions that could affect your and your children's financial future takes time and energy. If you're already in a new relationship, let your family law attorney know so that he or she can help you deal with any potential fallout from your ex during your negotiations.

Source: Huffington Post, "7 Reasons NOT To Date During Your Divorce," Karen Covy, Sep. 29, 2016

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