To Date Or Not To Date?

Not everyone is ready to move on in the immediate aftermath of their marriage breakdown but many people date and if those individuals are emotionally equipped to deal with that you may be right in thinking that there is nothing wrong with that.

A recent ruling in the High Court however, has thrown into question whether the existence of a new relationship will have a detrimental effect on a person’s case by reducing the amount of financial support that the court considers their spouse should provide. It may even signal a whole new approach to this issue by the courts which have traditionally tended to ignore new relationships as to take them into account is making assumptions that they will go the distance. If such assumptions are wrong the
wife may be left financially insecure.

Mr Justice Mostyn described dating before divorce as a “fly in the ointment” indicating that the family courts could not continue to ignore new relationships.

The case in question involved a couple in their 40’s who had met in 1999 and separated in 2012. Protracted proceedings over the parties finances ensued and, during the process, the wife began dating. She was not cohabiting and indicated that she had no immediate plans to do so. Despite the fact that the relationship was in the relatively early stages Mr Justice Mostyn made his decision on the basis that it could not be ignored and it affected her financial award.

Maybe this was a unique decision based on the facts of the case but it does go to show that we cannot assume that the courts will ignore the fact that you are dating when it comes to dividing the matrimonial assets.