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Can I Date If I’m Legally Separated?

Just as every marriage is unique, the way that different couples approach marriage problems can vary as well. For that reason, there are several options for couples to choose from when deciding how to deal with marriage troubles, including counseling, legal separation, and divorce. Each option has its own benefits and challenges. In the case of legal separation, one of its benefits can also be seen as a challenge, and that’s the option to date other people while separated.

Dating while legally separated is not always allowed. For one thing, not all states recognize legal separation as an option. Also, in states that do recognize legal separations, some spouses may choose to include language in their legal separation agreement that prevents them from dating others while separated. The best way to make sure that you’re allowed to date during a legal separation is to discuss your situation with an experienced family law attorney.

Can Dating While Separated Affect Divorce?

You or your spouse dating people other than each other while you’re legally separated seems like something that could be a problem if you end up getting a divorce. However, legally, it may not be a problem depending on the laws of your state. If, for instance, you live in a no-fault divorce state, while there may be emotional fallout from dating someone other than your current spouse during a legal separation, the fact that you dated someone else while separated should have little to no legal impact on your divorce (with a few exceptions that we will go into details about shortly).

What Is a No-Fault Divorce?

Nevada is a no-fault divorce state. No-fault divorces are not based on proving the other spouse did anything wrong. That means that under most circumstances the court will not consider issues like adultery or marital misconduct when awarding spousal support, deciding property division, or granting a divorce.

Are There Exceptions to No-Fault Divorce?

In most cases, a no-fault divorce prevents things such as dating during a legal separation from affecting a divorce. However, there are some instances where it can still have a negative impact. Specifically, dating during a legal separation can negatively affect a divorce in situations involving marital waste.

Courts generally consider most income and property acquired during a marriage community property. Using community property improperly is called marital waste. Under certain circumstances, how a married person spends income and uses property while dating someone who isn’t their spouse can be considered marital waste.

For example, if a spouse were to use marital income or property to buy a new car or house for someone they’re dating during a legal separation, that could be considered marital waste. If the court finds that a spouse is guilty of marital waste, it can hurt that spouse when it comes time to decide property division. This is because instead of dividing the property evenly between the spouses (which is common), the spouse who is guilty of marital waste may be awarded less marital property than the other spouse (unless that spouse is guilty of marital waste as well).

As you can see, even in a no-fault divorce state, the laws concerning divorce or legal separation can be complex. Speaking with a divorce lawyer about your circumstances can help you avoid legal pitfalls and ensure your divorce or legal separation is as amicable as possible.

Have More Questions About Legal Separation or No-Fault Divorce? Call Us Today!

The fierce legal advocates at Leavitt Law Firm have been fighting for the rights of clients for more than 30 years. We always treat our clients with compassion and understanding as we guide them through the legal process. However, we are more than capable of aggressively protecting their rights during a divorce or legal separation, and securing whatever they need as they transition to the next chapter of their lives, including:

To learn more about how we’ve helped clients with divorce and legal separation, review our client testimonials.

For more information about divorce or legal separation, or to set up a confidential consultation, call us at (702) 996-6052 or fill out our online contact form.

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