Compassionate and Caring Representation

Can I start dating after separation in North Carolina?

by | Mar 21, 2024 | Firm News

I am frequently asked, can I start dating once I am legally separated? While this answer is different depending upon the state that you live in, North Carolina allows you to date during the period of legal separation prior to divorce.

That being said, as an attorney I do not recommend dating during the period of separation prior to divorce for several reasons. If you are seeking alimony or any form of spousal support your former spouse may use the dating against you to construe it as if you were having an affair during the marriage and it may really complicate your chances of receiving support.

It’s just another layer of complication as well as an additional expense that you don’t need when dealing with a difficult ex. Additionally, cohabitation is a bar to receiving spousal support in North Carolina. If you’re dating relationship gets serious suddenly and you find yourself spending the night your ex could say that you’re cohabitating which is a bar to receiving spousal support as well.

If you have children, separation and divorce is very difficult on them. You need to be focused on your children and keep them as your priority. If you are out dating, you can become sidetracked with your new dating interests and not prioritize the needs of your children.

If your case is in the middle of litigation, meaning you’re involved in court proceedings, it is very expensive as well as emotionally exhausting. You need to be able to focus 100% on the court proceedings and be completely invested in the success of your case. If you’re dating your focus may be on another person and or their input may dilute what you need to be focused on and it could have a negative impact on your case. Additionally the judge may not find favor on you as a parent or a dependent spouse if they know that you are dating.

Finally, with issues of domestic violence, I never recommend getting into a dating relationship right after separation. That is when you are at your most vulnerable and most likely to get into another toxic and or abusive relationship. Sometimes you may end up getting into an abusive relationship that was worse than the one you just left. It is very important to have a period of healing and to have a period of independence to get to know who you are and what your needs are. Jumping immediately into another relationship creates a sense of codependency rather than independence. You owe it to yourself and your children to take some time during separation to heal me well and to not jump in to another relationship.