The question, "Can I date while going through a divorce?" is a very interesting one. Whether you decide to do so will depend on your personal situation, but it may not be the best decision to get involved with a new person until after your divorce is finalized.
Can I Date While Going Through a Divorce?: The Answer
There is no legal reason why a person cannot start dating before their divorce is final. All jurisdictions in the United States will allow a couple to divorce without having to establish fault on the part of one of the parties. The new person doesn't need to worry about being named in the divorce action as having committed adultery.
Emotional Toll of Divorce
While a person who has recently ended their marriage may feel like they should be going out on dates to prove that they are still attractive, there are good reasons to delay getting involved with a new person. Until the separated or divorced person can grieve for the end of their marital relationship (whether they were the one who ended it or not), they will still have unresolved issues that they will take into their next one.
Part of coming to terms with the end of the marriage is realizing what part each person played in whatever issues led to the breakup. It is all too easy to blame the other spouse for the problems that caused the marital relationship to unravel. Until each person can move past the hurt and anger, they simply aren't ready to start a new relationship with a clean slate. They will carry forward the negative feelings from the marriage into the next relationship.
Dating Could Make Reaching a Settlement Difficult
If one spouse starts dating before the divorce is final, it could make reaching a settlement more challenging. The news of a new person in the other spouse's life may cause the spouse who is not dating to dig in their heels and become less reasonable in trying to reach a divorce settlement.
Many couples who are going through a divorce negotiate the division of their marital property, child custody and other issues themselves with the help of their attorneys. When they are unable to reach a settlement, the matter is put on the list for a hearing and a judge makes decisions about these issues. Once the judge has made a ruling, it is legally binding. Appealing a decision in a divorce action may be possible, but it is an expensive and time-consuming process.
If delaying the start of a new relationship can help a couple to work out the terms of their divorce without having to appear before a judge, it is worthwhile to hold off until an agreement can be signed. Going to court is stressful and expensive, and should be a last resort for divorcing couples.
Dating with Children in the Picture
Another reason you will want to think about the question, "Can I date while going through a divorce?" is that any new relationship you start will affect the children of the marriage as well. Seeing their parents break up is difficult enough for children without their getting the impression that their mother or father has been replaced very easily.
The children may wonder if their parent will lose interest in them as well. With their lives already in upheaval because of the separation and possibly having to move, bringing a new person into the mix may be too much change for children to deal with at once. A better decision, especially for parents, is to let the dust settle and work out a divorce settlement before starting to date.