Will It Hurt My Divorce Case If I Move in With Someone?
Getting a divorce can take months, and sometimes, though rarely, even years, depending on the complexity of the case. If, during your divorce, you meet someone and the two of you decide you’d like to live together, you may be wondering if you can even do so, or you may be asking, “Will it hurt my divorce case?”
“No Fault” Divorce
Technically, if you move in with another person while you’re still legally married, you are committing adultery. It doesn’t matter that you’re in the process of a divorce. If the decree hasn’t been finalized, your marriage hasn’t officially been dissolved. Many states have laws stating that spouses who commit adultery may receive less of the marital property, or might not be eligible for spousal support. In some states, there may even be criminal penalties.
Arizona, on the other hand, grants “no fault” divorces. This means spouses don’t need to have grounds on which they wish to divorce. It also means their conduct with respect to dating others is not a factor in a divorce in most cases. A spouse who commits adultery does not receive less than their half of the marital assets for their actions, and may still be able to collect spousal support.
When Dating Does Matter
Dating or living with someone before your divorce is finalized usually only affects your court action in one of three ways:
If you are dating someone who poses a danger to any minor children in your care, the Court will take that person’s proximity and level of threat to the children seriously in determining legal decision making and parenting time between the parents. A person may pose a danger to a child if, by way of example, that person has a drug or alcohol problem, has a significant criminal history, is violent, or has an untreated or an extremely serious mental health issue.
If community money is spent in furtherance of an affair, the community can recoup what has been spent. This is called “waste” or “dissipation” of assets. For example, if a wife buys a plane ticket for her boyfriend to come and visit and she uses her salary from her job (earned while the parties were still married and before the service of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is served on one of the parties) to buy it, that ticket constitutes waste or dissipation and the husband can be reimbursed for one-half of the funds spent.
If you are living with someone while you are requesting spousal maintenance from your spouse and your new live-in partner is contributing to your living expenses, it could affect the court’s determination of your reasonable needs.
Talk to a Divorce Attorney
While living with someone will usually not hurt your divorce case, you may have questions about your specific situation. The divorce attorneys at Udall Shumway, PLC can go over the considerations the court reviews to help you better understand what your options are for the circumstances you are in.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Will It Hurt My Divorce Case, or any other family law issue, please feel free to contact Steven H. Everts at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.