On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Divorce on Monday, April 29, 2013.

Are you allowed to date before your divorce is final?

Many clients want to date during their divorce. And, more and more people are creating online profiles on various dating sites, like match.com, eHarmony, and AARP Dating, to shape their image. Making an online image is great, as long as you don’t lie about it.

Let’s be realistic, everyone is guilty of wanting to make themself appear a little more attractive. Little white lies, exaggerations and deceptions in your online profile may seem innocent enough, but they can lead to big problems. I’m not talking about the generalized lie you might give to avoid being lonely: “I love poetry”, “I look 29”, “I’m skinny”. I’m talking about bigger lies that can damage your divorce case.

Exaggerations and deceptions in your online dating profile can become evidence in a divorce trial. What may seem like a harmless way to get a date when you post it, can morph into a damaging impeachment during your cross-examination. Worse still, your future date – who responds to your dating site – may be dragged into court as witness.

According to a recent survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 59% of respondents said they have seen an increase in the number of divorce cases using evidence taken from dating websites during the past three years. 64% of respondents have seen evidence taken specifically from Match.com. Of the type of information being taken from these sites, 57% of lawyers have seen relationship status used, followed by salary and occupation at 15% and parental status at 7%.

I advise clients to stay away from social media and dating websites until the divorce is over. In addition to the risks of your personal information being dragged into court, there is the impact dating can have on your current spouse. Flaunting a new relationship could create anger and resentment. Settling your case becomes harder, and your case will last longer and cost more.

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