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Category: Family Law

Can You Date During a Divorce in Illinois?

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Written by Olivia St. Clair Long, JD on 7.28.22

Divorces get messy fast. This is especially true when you suspect your ex is dating even before your divorce is finalized. While they may not be directly reprimanded for their actions, the outcome of the divorce could be impacted in other ways.

Knowing what can happen if you date before your divorce is final can not only keep you out of trouble, but it could help you protect yourself and your children.

Is Illinois a No-Fault State?

Over recent years, Illinois has joined many other states in becoming a no-fault state for divorce. This means that spouses seeking divorce can do so without any reason. So, if your spouse is dating before your divorce is final, the court will not consider that fact in awarding property, money, or blame to either side, with certain specific exceptions.

You will now have to file for divorce based on “irreconcilable differences”— a fancy term for it just not working out, and any attempt to salvage the relationship would be futile.

So, It’s Okay to Date During a Divorce? 

Not exactly. Although you can’t use adultery as grounds for your divorce, it’s still frowned upon and can indirectly impact the outcome of a divorce.

The dating spouse could be forced to pay back any money spent on the new partner, drag out the divorce process, and limit their spousal support if they choose to move in with the new partner.

Dissipation of Assets

An ex’s portion of marital assets will remain unaffected if they date during the divorce. However, Illinois’ dissipation laws prevent them from using joint finances solely for their benefit when the marriage is going through an irreconcilable breakdown. This is because both spouses are still presumed to own, together, all income made before the distribution of marital assets.

If your ex has been taking their new partner out on dates, going on trips, or buying gifts for their birthday or Christmas, they are responsible for paying back every dollar they spent to the marriage, so that it can be divided properly.

Length & Complications in Divorce

Another way dating before a divorce is final can indirectly lead to an unfavorable outcome is by causing unnecessary strife between spouses. Seeing an ex dating someone so soon is enough to make anyone’s blood boil, and it can cause divorce proceedings to stall—making for a long and dreadful experience.

Spousal Support

Depending on your financial situation, your life could look very different after a divorce. You may need to downsize or could face financial troubles as you recover from your divorce. Being forced to pay spousal support could add to this financial burden.

However, if your spouse moves in with their new partner, the court might limit the money you give them since the new partner provides them with added financial support. This allows you to catch a break on alimony payments if you’re coming out of your divorce single.

Child Custody

Keeping your children safe is your top priority. But your ex’s destructive and unpredictable behavior could put them at risk. A judge will determine custody with the children’s best interests in mind.

The judge may see that your ex’s new relationship is causing them to neglect their children and may favor them being placed in your primary care. In other cases, a new partner could have a criminal record that jeopardizes the children’s safety.

Is Your Ex Dating Before the Divorce is Final?

If you find that your spouse is in a relationship before your marriage is officially over, it’s essential to make this clear to your attorney. They can help you get back any money they spend and further inform you of your rights.

Additionally, they can give you straightforward advice on why it’s recommended to wait until your marriage is officially over to begin dating again.

Our divorce attorneys at O. Long Law, LLC, our divorce attorneys believe you need a fierce advocate willing to give you hands-on guidance during your divorce. We’ll get you through this tough time so you can begin rebuilding your life. Contact us today at 847-556-8846.

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