During a separation pending divorce in which both live separately, can one “cheat”?

We have both agreed to a divorce. The paperwork for a dissolution is already in the works. I’m currently dating someone else and my soon-to-be dreaded ex keeps bringing up the idea that “we’re still technically married”. Could he hold my relationship against me in any way during the divorce? We have one minor child.

Asked on September 3, 2011 under Family Law, Ohio


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The generally answer is yes. It is never advisable to be in a relationship during the pendency of a divorce proceeding because inevitably it can turn ugly and the other spouse could use it against you. This is especially true when minor children are involved and the court considers the health and well-being of the children first. In Ohio, it appears you are in an at-fault state, which means divorces can be granted for among other things, adultery. It can absolutely therefore be considered cheating in the sense of using the legal term of adultery while you are still technically married. There are public policy reasons for this that you would not be able to overcome per se. It may be advisable to speak with your divorce counsel about the likelihood of this issue having an absolute and detrimental impact on your divorce proceedings and support proceedings.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.