Husband Moved in With Girlfriend Before Divorce: What You Need to Know
You’ve suspected for weeks that your husband has been unfaithful. Despite attempts to save your marriage, you recently discovered concrete proof of his affair. To add insult to injury, your husband just moved in with his girlfriend before your divorce was finalized. You’re hurt, angry, and wondering what to do next.
This scenario is far more common than you may realize. Between 20-40% of divorces involve infidelity, with men being more likely to cheat than women. As painful as it is to accept, many straying spouses move on to live with their girlfriend or boyfriend during separation.
You’re likely grappling with a wide range of emotions and logistical concerns. Where does this leave you financially? What are the implications for child custody? How could this impact your settlement? What legal recourse do you have?
This guide will walk you through the key considerations when your husband has moved in with his girlfriend pre-divorce. You’ll learn how to protect your interests, avoid compromising the legal proceedings, and emerge from the drama with an equitable outcome.
Dating Before Divorce: How a Romantic Relationship Affects Outcome
Even if your spouse claims they’re okay with you dating before the divorce, becoming romantically involved with someone new during your split can cause issues.
Here are some potential problems:
- It can inflame conflict between you and your ex, complicating negotiations and increasing costs.
- Your ex could use it against you in custody disputes, especially if your new partner seems unstable or irresponsible.
- If you combine finances and assets, you may have to account for that in the property division.
- It can be harder to get spousal maintenance if you appear to be supported by a new partner.
- Rushing into something serious may indicate you’re not ready to healthily start something new.
- Introducing a new partner to shared children too soon could be emotionally disruptive.
While dating during separation may feel exciting, the headaches and heartaches that can follow typically aren’t worth it. Focus your energy on healing, finding yourself, and finalizing your divorce first.
Here are some other more practical ways dating before divorce can spell disaster:
If you have minor children with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, moving in with a new romantic partner could hurt your chances of getting primary custody or equal parenting time. Family courts generally frown upon one parent exposing the children to new romantic partners early in the divorce process.
The court may view cohabitating as against the best interests of the children, especially if:
- The new partner has issues like substance abuse or domestic violence in their past
- Your children are still processing the divorce emotionally
- Your new partner undermines your parenting authority
While your spouse cannot legally dictate who you date, moving someone new into the home before divorce may prolong negotiations and spark an ugly custody battle. Judges want to ensure your choices don’t harm the children.
Minnesota recognizes no-fault divorce, so you can’t use adultery to prove your spouse is at fault. However, judges may consider conduct during the marriage and after separation when dividing marital property.
Living with a new partner doesn’t legally count as adultery in Minnesota. But the court could see it as wasting marital assets. You may have to reimburse your ex for their share of any property or money spent on your new cohabitating partner.
Alimony is usually terminated if the receiving spouse remarries or cohabitates with a new romantic partner. In Minnesota, alimony generally ends when the recipient lives with someone of the opposite sex who isn’t a close relative.
Cohabitation can also impact alimony if you share finances or assets with your new partner. You need proof of romantic involvement or financial ties for the paying spouse to end alimony on these grounds. This applies to both temporary and permanent alimony awards.
Protecting Your Interests if You Want to Move On Before Divorce
For those determined to move forward with a new serious relationship before divorce, there are some precautions you can take to protect yourself:
- Wait to introduce your new partner to your children until your divorce is further along and you have a custody agreement in place. Don’t let them stay over at your home yet. Keep contact minimal to avoid disrupting your custody case.
- Maintain financial independence from your new partner as much as possible. Do not combine assets or finances or take on joint expenses like a shared mortgage. Pay your share of rent and bills.
- Be discreet about your new living situation. Avoid advertising your new relationship on social media or among mutual friends, where word could get back to your spouse. Don’t flaunt your new arrangement.
- Consult your divorce attorney before making any major joint purchases or financial decisions with your new partner. Understand how it could impact property division first.
- Consider a post-nuptial agreement if you must cohabit but want to protect your alimony. Spell out financial separation clearly.
Even under the best precautions, moving on with a new, serious relationship before divorce can be risky. The best advice is to focus on resolving your divorce first before starting a new chapter. But if you must live with someone new, protect yourself legally.
Cohabitating with a new romantic partner before your divorce is finalized can negatively impact property division, child custody, and spousal maintenance. To understand how it could affect your specific situation, consult with a Minnesota family law attorney at Martine Law. Their skilled divorce lawyers serve clients throughout the Twin Cities metro area. Contact Martine Law today to schedule a case evaluation.