Adultery causes many divorces, but in most states, the reason for your divorce doesn't matter much. No-fault divorces have made the reason behind a divorce all but irrelevant to the proceedings – that is, unless you're in Pennsylvania. If you're a married resident of the Virtue, Liberty, and Independence state, you may want to think twice about being unfaithful. Pennsylvania divorce law allows for fault and no-fault divorce fillings, and infidelity is a no-no because it can impact the outcome of your case.
Proof of infidelity, a sexual relationship with a person who is not your spouse, can leave you with a more complicated and contentious divorce. The mandatory yearlong separation law in Pennsylvania requires that couples separate before finalizing their no-fault divorce. A year can be a long time to be alone, and some couples have a tough time dealing with their time as a solitary singleton. So, it's not surprising that many couples ask if it's considered adultery to date during the separation period. The answer is to this question is not as straightforward as you'd think.
When It's Okay to Start Dating
The answer to whether you can date or not is complicated because the answer depends on your situation. The Pennsylvania mandatory one-year separation period is intended to serve as a cooling-off period. You aren't required to use the cooling-off period as intended, but you and your spouse should be on the same page about what this year apart will mean for you as a couple. Technically, you can date while you are separated if you document and do it properly. The relationship can't have started before the filing date of your divorce. If your spouse can prove that it did, your no-fault divorce could become a fault divorce quickly. And while a fault divorce doesn't carry the same waiting period, if you are found at fault for the divorce, your ex could be awarded spousal support or alimony reflecting the infidelity charges, or support payments could be denied if the unfaithful partner is the one seeking support.
How to Date During Your Separation Period
The best way to date during your separation period is to create a very easy-to-follow financial paper trail. After you are separated, you should open your own bank accounts and, if possible, move out of the marital home or create a separate living arrangement. If you cannot leave the marital home, you and your spouse should not still share a bedroom or continue to have a physical relationship, as this can be construed as continuing your marriage. If you are sleeping with your spouse and dating, this is considered adultery because you and your spouse are not separated – even if you feel that your marriage is only symbolic at this point. It must be clear to those outside your marriage that you are separated and headed for divorce. It cannot be ambiguous.
Cairns Law Offices – Home of Pennsylvania's Original eDivorce
Marriage is hard, but that doesn't mean divorce needs to be. You don't have to worry about months of court dates and endless document filings when you contact Cairns Law Group, the home of the no-fault divorces $249 uncontested divorce. Our fee even includes court costs, so you can complete all your paperwork and file everything online. If you and your spouse have mutually agreed to divorce. Call us today at (888) 863-9115 to get started.