Television star Ashton Kutcher ended his marriage with film star Demi Moore in November, 2013. Three months later, he announced his engagement to Mila Kunis. Fast work? Or possible overlap? Kutcher filed for divorce December 21, 2012, so he had some 11 months to consider his options. Whether he was smart to start relationships with other women after filing for divorce against Moore depends on several factors, all of which may apply to other men, too.
Remember, Opinions Are Like …
Like some close but not-quite-stable friend sharing thoughts over a beer, any number of online “experts,” completely ignorant of your particular situation, are quick to tell you vastly contrasting things:
- “You’re lonely—go for it!”
- “It’ll confuse your kids.”
- “You could meet the perfect wife!”
- “You’re on the rebound and are an emotional hot mess—wait a bit.”
And on and on.
Only you can know if dating—in whatever way (socially, platonically, or sexually) you wish to interpret that charmingly outdated word—is a wise move before your divorce is final. You can, though, consider all the angles, from children to social circles.
The Children: Avoiding Confusion & Complications
Very young children really may become confused by the mixed signals a divorcing couple sends their way when Dad is suddenly stepping out with not-Mom. If the two of you are still in the same house—because of finances, timing, or stubbornness—you should avoid bringing anyone new into an already stressful, complicated situation.
The Judge: No, No … You’re Not Safe from Judgement
From the time you file for divorce until a judge signs off in the dissolution, remember every divorce lawyer’s cardinal rule:
Do nothing you would be embarrassed to describe in open court before the judge.
Your soon-to-be ex-wife will have her ears open to any tales your children and friends share about the new company you keep. Plan on hearing her re-share this information with the judge.
The House: Sharing Turf? Be Ready to Share Much More
Until the two of you are each on your own turf, it’s smart to avoid dating. Your wife could use your dating as a reason the marriage failed, even if you began dating after you both knew the marriage was over. The judge could award her a larger share of the assets.
The Pants: Don’t Make Claims of Adultery Too Easy
Under no circumstances should you impregnate anyone until your divorce is final. If you were hoping to keep the divorce process moving along, a pregnancy will put the brakes on that. Nine months’ additional waiting, a paternity test, and conditions for custody and support will become vastly more complicated parts of the process.
In Virginia, you are either married or not married; separation has no legal standing except to start the clock for divorce. Throughout your divorce, you are still married, and any sexual involvement with another woman who is not your legally recognized wife counts as adultery under Title 20, Chapter 6 of the Code of Virginia.
The Circle: Limiting Social Interactions
Your circle of friends must change; you are divorcing because the two of you are not compatible, so sharing friends becomes difficult, and you wanted the opportunity to meet new people.
Deliberately seek out new social circles, and keep things strictly, lightly sociable. Remember, even if you initiated the divorce, you will be vulnerable to unexpected feelings and longing. Watch for signs you are trying to pair off with someone from that social circle, and resist.
The Talk: Be Honest No Matter the Cost
Life happens; you are divorcing, not dying. Expect to meet people, but be honest with them about your situation. Explain all your rough edges and muddy details if you sense things are getting serious. You owe that to a new girlfriend. She might be very interested in you, but not interested in the process, the children, or the angry spouse.
The Group: Getting Help from Your Peers
A Virginia support group for divorced and divorcing people is a great help during a potentially stressful time. Others going through the experience can share their ideas on dealing with children, loneliness, and frustration. Attending such a group also gets you into new habits, gets you out and about, and opens up new horizons for you.
The Bank: The Going Rate for Romance
Can you afford the complications of adding a new romance to your life, when you are considering the expenses of a divorce? If you were married for a while, you may have forgotten the major expenses associated with impressing someone:
- Surprise getaways
- Romantic dinners
- Theatre and concert tickets
- Intriguing dates in exotic venues
- Dry cleaning
- Chocolates and jewelry
- Single red roses delivered every day for weeks on end
- An adorable puppy, a new car with a giant ribbon on it, and a hot air balloon ride into the sunset…okay, maybe that’s a little exaggerated, but you get the idea
The Lawyer: Ask Someone You Can Trust
Perhaps the best person to consult—better than a group, potential girlfriend, new friends, or the internet’s many bloggers—is your lawyer. Listen carefully to the advice you are paying for, advice that can keep you on the path to the freedom you desire. Most people divorce only once; a good divorce lawyer has experience with many divorces. At The Firm For Men, you can consult with your divorce attorney and learn exactly what the issues are with dating before a Virginia judge makes your divorce final. Contact The Firm for Men today.