Can Online Dating Affect Your Divorce?

Nearly everyone in the U.S. has access to the internet and uses it to video chat with friends, vent about work on social, stream movies illegally, or even find a date through any number of apps like Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid. The options are limitless to what you can do, but it’s important to know how your online footprint can affect your real life…especially if you’re in the middle of a divorce.

“No-Fault” Divorce

California is a “no-fault” divorce state which means that the court does not concern itself with arguments over why the marriage failed. Instead, the courts recognize two official reasons for a divorce: the incurable insanity of one of the spouses, or irreconcilable differences between the spouses. To be clear, there are no laws against dating while you are married, whether you are seeking a divorce or not, but it could potentially affect issues in the divorce.

Online Dating and Divorce

Let’s say you’re on any number of dating apps during your divorce. While a new relationship would be considered an extramarital affair until your divorce is final, under a no-fault system, adultery is not considered by the court when it decides to grant a divorce.

When it comes to custody battles, however, it’s often about how you conduct yourself around your child. While the court may not penalize you for dating someone new, a new relationship or dating online could have an effect on whether you are awarded custody of your child. The court’s job is to award custody based on the best interest of the child, and that can be impacted by your new dating life.

For example, if your new online dating life is interfering with your ability to be involved in your child’s life, the court may think your child is better off in the custody of your spouse. If your child constantly sees you with different people, the court may see that as an unhealthy atmosphere for the child. If someone you meet online has a criminal record in their past, the relationship could reflect negatively on your argument for custody.

The court also has some discretion on awarding spousal support, but not for dating another person. Let’s say a man says he has virtually no money, yet on his dating profiles there are a number of photos that show him jet-setting around the world and enjoying nice vacations, all while “not having enough money to pay that much spousal support.” While the dating isn’t the problem, it’s the content of the profile that can come back to haunt someone.

If you’re going through a divorce, please contact our Riverside County divorce lawyers at Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich. It’s important to steer clear of any unhealthy or damaging practices, and we can help you with our knowledge and experience. Call (951) 687-6003 to learn more about our services and your options during a free case consultation.


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