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Can I Date During My Separation in Pennsylvania?

Posted By Cairns Law Offices || 17-Sep-2018

Pennsylvania is not only a mixed state where spouses can file fault and no-fault divorces, but it is also one of the states that frowns upon adultery. Not all states care about infidelity, but Pennsylvania does. Meaning, if a spouse has sexual intercourse with another person, who is not their spouse during their marriage, the infidelity can impact the outcome of their divorce, specifically in regards to spousal support and alimony.

Pennsylvania recently changed the separation period from two years down to one – the time period spouses have to wait before they can file for divorce. Even though one year is half the amount of time to wait and file for divorce, divorcing spouses still get lonely. While some spouses may have no desire to date during their one-year separation period, a significant percentage of them are eager to start dating again.

So, those spouses who want to date during their separation, or those who don’t but their soon-to-be exes do, often ask, “Is it considered adultery if you date during the mandatory one-year separation period?” and “Is it okay to date before my divorce?”

When It’s Okay to Start Dating

In a perfect world, separated and divorcing spouses in Pennsylvania would not start dating until their divorce was final, but that’s easier said than done. We have to be realistic here. Is it okay to date when you’re separated? It is okay, providing you do it right. If you start seeing someone else before you and your spouse decide to divorce or before you physically separate, it is considered adultery.

If your spouse gets upset about the fling or affair, a no-fault divorce can be off the table and suddenly you’re facing a fault-based divorce. If your spouse can prove your marital misconduct due to your infidelity, it could mean you’re not entitled to spousal support or alimony that you’d otherwise be entitled to.

“When is it safe to start dating so it won’t be viewed as adultery?” You need to be separated first. The best way to do this is sever the financial ties; for example, close joint bank accounts, switch the title of a vehicle to the other spouse’s name, and close joint credit cards – those types of measures. It also helps to physically separate. In other words, live under two different roofs.

If living in separate households is not feasible, it’s best to sleep in different bedrooms, to stop having sexual relations with your spouse, and stop portraying yourself as a married couple to the world. Tell people you are separated.

If you continue sleeping the same bedroom, going out on dates with friends as a married couple, and being intimate with your spouse, you are not separated. So, if you are not separated and you start sleeping with someone else, in the court’s eyes you are committing adultery and that won’t help your divorce.

Related: Does Pennsylvania Have Legal Separation?

We hope this post clears up any questions you might have about dating during your separation but before your divorce. If you are interested in filing a no-fault for divorce in Harrisburg for just $219, please contact us today.