What to Do When Wife Has Boyfriend Before Divorce: 9 Things

What to do when wife has boyfriend before divorce is a common question from husbands facing a divorce. It can be challenging for a man to come to terms with the fact that his wife is seeing someone new. Despite this, it’s essential to focus on what you can control and take proactive steps to protect yourself during this transition.

Discovering that your wife has a boyfriend before your divorce is finalized can be a tumultuous and heart-wrenching experience. It can stir up many emotions, from betrayal to anger, and may complicate divorce. However, it’s crucial to remember that your actions during this challenging time can significantly impact the outcome of your divorce. Here are nine practical strategies to help you navigate this delicate situation.

wife has boyfriend before divorce

Wife has boyfriend before divorce: Is it legal?

In the United States, no federal law exists against a spouse dating someone else before or during the divorce proceedings. However, the laws and regulations regarding this issue vary by state. 

In most states, there is nothing illegal about a spouse having a boyfriend or girlfriend while still married, as long as the couple lives apart and has filed for separation or divorce. For instance, in states such as California, Texas, New York, and Illinois, there is no criminal penalty for adultery, and it does not affect the divorce outcome. 

Conversely, sixteen states consider adultery a criminal offense affecting child custody and spousal support. From Arizona to North Carolina, these include Florida, Kansas, Illinois, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Idaho, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Utah, New York, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina & North Carolina. In particular infidelity circumstances, it may also lead to the deprivation or reduction of alimony payments in divorce proceedings.

Moreover, even if it is not illegal, if a spouse starts seeing another person before the court grants a divorce, it can prolong the legal proceedings and make them more complicated, especially if the other spouse decides to bring up the issue in court.

Regarding the impact on children, divorce alone can be traumatic for kids, and introducing a new partner during that time can cause additional emotional stress. It is generally advisable to wait until the divorce is finalized before introducing someone new into a child’s life.

Furthermore, it can play a role in terms of how assets are divided during the proceedings. Generally, any decisions made or actions taken by either spouse after separation and before the finalization of the divorce are considered in terms of equitable distribution.

Wife Has Boyfriend Before Divorce: 9 Things You Can Do

What to do when your spouse starts dating during the divorce? Navigating a relationship headed toward divorce can be challenging, especially when one partner has already started a new romantic chapter. Discovering that your wife has a boyfriend before the divorce is finalized can trigger many emotions and uncertainties.

Below I’ll explore nine constructive and practical steps you can consider taking in such a situation. From managing your emotions to addressing legal and practical aspects, we aim to guide how to approach this complex scenario with clarity and composure:

#1. Stay calm and composed:

It can be easy to become overwhelmed when you discover that the person you’ve been married to for many years is seeing someone new. When this happens, it is crucial to remain calm and composed. Don’t rush into decisions or actions that could have long-term consequences. Instead, think through your options and keep a level head.

Don’t overreact or lash out against your spouse. This will only create further problems and unnecessary conflict in a problematic situation. Try your best to remain composed, and if you need help managing your emotions, consider talking to a counselor or therapist. 

#2. Talk it out:

The 2nd step when you discover your spouse is seeing someone else is to talk it out. Expressing yourself and getting your feelings out in the open as soon as possible can help prevent resentment from building up. Communicating openly with your spouse about the situation can also be beneficial to just understanding their perspective without passing judgment. Less communication is one of the reasons for initiating the divorce.

Try to make her understand how you feel by presenting the facts. Stick to the facts and try not to label her or point fingers. It’s natural for emotions to run high, so take some time out if it gets too heated. Talk about the impact of this on your children and your family’s future. If you have children together, be sure to talk about how this could affect them and come to an agreement on what’s best for them. 

#3. Gather evidence:

If your wife has started dating before the divorce is finalized, it’s crucial to gather evidence. This isn’t about playing detective or seeking revenge; it’s about protecting your interests during the divorce proceedings. If you’re in a state where fault impacts the division of assets or alimony, evidence of a new relationship could significantly influence the outcome.

But remember, it’s essential to gather this evidence legally and ethically. Consider keeping a record of dates, times, and any inappropriate behavior that might be relevant. This could include social media posts, text messages, or emails. It is not so much hard to catch a cheating spouse.

Keep written records of any activities your spouse engages in with his/her new partner that could be used as evidence in a future court case. Also, collect evidence to prove that the relationship is more than just a friendship, such as restaurant and hotel receipts. This can help build your case if you seek legal action against your ex-spouse. Always consult a lawyer before collecting or presenting this evidence to ensure you’re not violating any laws or privacy rights.

#4. Check state laws:

When a wife has a boyfriend before the divorce is finalized, knowing how state laws may affect the proceedings is important. Make sure to look up the laws in your state regarding adultery and other forms of infidelity. Depending on the state, this could affect the outcome of a divorce or child custody case like a DUI.

Depending on the situation, your spouse’s new relationship could impact child custody arrangements or alimony payments. It’s essential to be aware of these considerations and any resulting legal implications to prepare for any adjustments needed during the divorce process adequately. 

#5. Seek legal advice:

In such a situation, it’s prudent to understand your legal position comprehensively. Reach out to a lawyer who specializes in family law. They can guide you through the complexities of your situation and provide advice on how to protect your interests, especially if children are involved or if significant assets need to be divided.

If there is any issue of adultery or infidelity, the lawyer may advise you to look up the laws in your state and be aware of how it can affect the divorce proceedings. They will also be able to provide more accurate information about alimony payments, division of assets, child custody arrangements, and any other important areas that your spouse’s new relationship could potentially impact. 

#6. Prioritize children’s well-being:

In the midst of such a tumultuous period, the well-being of any children involved should always be a paramount concern. Children may struggle to understand the situation and experience confusion, sadness, or even guilt. It’s important to reassure them that these changes are not their fault and to maintain as much stability and routine as possible.

Being present, open, and honest with your children about the situation (in an age-appropriate manner) can help them navigate this uncertain time. If needed, prioritize their emotional needs by ensuring they can access support, such as counseling or therapeutic services.

Remember, your actions and attitude during this time can significantly impact your children’s emotional health. So, despite the hurt and betrayal you may feel, try to foster a respectful relationship with your spouse for the sake of your children. 

if you fear that your ex or her new partner may pose a risk to you or your children, take action and contact the police and/or relevant authorities. In some cases, a restraining order may be necessary. Taking such action is important in ensuring your safety during this difficult time. 

#7. Consider counseling or support groups:

The process of getting divorced can be incredibly overwhelming and emotionally draining. Seeking professional counseling or support groups can help you manage feelings of sadness, anger, hurt, or anxiety. Professional counselors can also advise how best to cope with the situation, allowing you to navigate it with peace of mind.

Alternatively, you could look to join a support group in your area. This can be an invaluable source of comfort and understanding if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the situation—here, you’ll find individuals who understand what you’re going through and can offer advice or just a shoulder to lean on.

It’s important to remember that you are not alone in this challenging situation. Lean on your family, friends, and other trusted sources of support to help navigate your divorce proceedings and any emotional distress it may cause. 

#7. Take care of yourself:

It’s essential to take the time you need for self-care and look after your well-being during this period. Your wife moved on before the divorce. Forget this. Focus on activities that bring you joy, such as yoga, mindfulness exercises, or spending time with friends and family who can provide a listening ear. Doing so will help build your resilience and mental health, which can help you better cope with the challenges ahead.

This is also an excellent opportunity for personal growth and nurturing relationships. Explore ways to develop yourself, such as taking an online course or exploring new hobbies. This will give you something positive to focus on and bring you closer to your loved ones as you share your experiences. Don’t make the decision to divorce so quickly. It will make you bound to grieve for a longer time.

Take the time for yourself and stay connected with your core values. Consider developing a personal mantra to remember during this difficult time and practice self-compassion as you go through this journey. With patience and perseverance, it is possible to emerge from this situation stronger than ever.

#9. Go for separation:

Consider separating if all else fails and you cannot peacefully agree with your ex. A separation may help bring closure to the relationship and allow both parties to move on. Be sure to seek legal advice, as it will help protect your rights, finances, and other matters of concern during this difficult period.

Separation may also be necessary if your spouse engages in activities detrimental to you and/or your children, such as physical or emotional abuse. If you decide to go ahead with separation, establish healthy boundaries. This will help ensure that each party’s rights are respected and that no one is taken advantage of during the process. 

FAQs on Wife Seeing Someone Else During Separation

Is it OK to date a woman going through a divorce?

The answer to this question depends on the individual circumstances. While it is essential to respect the needs of both parties, be sure to tread carefully and with sensitivity. Ultimately, both parties should agree that dating is acceptable before any action is taken.

If you are considering dating someone going through a divorce, talk openly about your feelings and intentions. Make sure to keep in mind the feelings of both parties and ensure that any decision made is a mutual one.

Even if it is ultimately agreed upon, dating during a divorce may be emotionally difficult. Both parties should make time for themselves and care for their mental and emotional well-being. This means creating healthy boundaries, avoiding codependent relationships, developing a personal mantra to remember during difficult times, and engaging in self-care activities.

It is also important to remember that divorce can be a complicated legal process, and it may take time for both parties to recover fully. Be patient with yourself and your partner as you navigate through the process of healing. Respect their journey, provide emotional support when needed, and encourage them to take the time they need to heal. 

Can I start dating before divorce?

“Is it okay for a woman to look for a boyfriend during a divorce process?”

Falling in love before divorce is final is not illegal. While there is no legal reason why a person cannot start dating before their divorce is finalized, there are some practical considerations before hitting the dating scene.

Depending on the state where you are filing for divorce, behavior concerning romantic relationships can have different implications. Some courts may view such relationships as marital misconduct, which could factor into the outcome of your case. If you do decide to date, use discretion and care to avoid drama and complicating the divorce proceedings.

Additionally, it would be best not to introduce any children from the marriage to your new partner until your divorce has been finalized – this is for their own protection and will help minimize confusion about who is or isn’t in their family.

Ultimately, although jumping back into the dating pool before a divorce isn’t illegal, consider whether it’s in your best interest based on your current circumstances before taking any steps. You may watch the below video to learn on this point:

Is dating during divorce adultery?

“Can I date during my divorce?”

According to divorce laws in the United States, adultery is defined as any sexual intercourse between one spouse and someone other than their spouse before or during a divorce. Therefore, dating during a divorce could be considered adultery because they engage in intimate activities with someone other than their soon-to-be ex-spouse.

Generally speaking, whether or not dating during a divorce constitutes adultery depends on several factors. These include the individual state’s interpretation and particular circumstances of each case. In some states, clawback provisions allow assets to be returned if money was transferred from one party to another before a divorce is finalized.

This clawback provision could also negatively impact an individual found guilty of adultery while divorcing. Ultimately, anyone considering dating while divorcing should consult with a family law attorney in their area who can advise them on potential consequences.

Can dating during divorce affect custody?

Dating during divorce can impact child custody determinations. Although it is not necessarily illegal to date while going through a divorce, dating while you are married can be seen as an act of adultery, and in some states, such behavior has implications for financial support and the division of property.

Depending on the state, having a new partner around the children during visitation or overnight stays may also affect custody arrangements. Divorced parents must understand that every state’s laws differ and that dating during divorce proceedings could affect their future custody arrangements. If you are getting a divorce, fully understand the laws surrounding dating and your state’s guidelines for custody before jumping into a new relationship.

Can you marry someone else while going through a divorce?

“Can I get married while my divorce is in process?”

No, you can’t. One cannot enter into a new marriage while getting divorced. To do so would be considered a crime of bigamy, which is illegal in all 50 states. Exceptions to this rule exist if the divorce proceedings had already begun before the marriage or if it is found to be enforceable under religious laws.

A court must deem an individual legally separated and eligible to remarry before tying the knot. No new marriages can occur when filing for divorce until the process has been concluded and approved. Additionally, many states require divorcing couples to wait a minimum before legally being declared divorced and eligible for new partnership ties.

What is the punishment of adultery in USA?

Adultery is a crime in many states in the United States, although not all. In the states that criminalize adultery, punishments tend to range from fines to incarceration for a set period. The severity of punishment largely depends on the nuances of state law and the offense’s specifics.

For example, Arizona makes adultery a felony only if it involves Phoenix city civil servants; California makes it a misdemeanor only if it occurs between people already married to others. Meanwhile, Nevada classifies it as a gross misdemeanor regardless of other factors. Some state courts may opt for alternative punishments such as counseling or restraining orders rather than jail time or fines.

In most circumstances, however, such justice is reserved for more severe cases. Generally speaking, adultery is typically considered a crime punishable by three months imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $500 in New York and similar amounts in other states that criminalize it.

Whatever its form, though, prosecution for adultery can attract unwanted attention from both private citizens and the media due to its seemingly archaic nature and rarity of actual punishment being meted out for its commission.


While it can be challenging to handle a situation involving infidelity, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your family. Make sure you look up the laws in your state regarding this issue, consult with an attorney if necessary, and take time for yourself during this process.

Additionally, focus on creating a safe environment for your children and ensuring they know the situation. Finally, if necessary, consider filing for separation to protect your rights and interests in case of a future divorce. The best course of action will depend on your circumstances, so speak with an attorney about what suits you.

About Shakir Ahmed

Head of the editorial team. I hold a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) from UoL. Written hundreds of articles on divorce, child custody, employment and other human rights law topics for blogs and websites worldwide. Worked 6 years as a relationship development trainer. For any communication regarding any legal matter, please feel free to email me at shakir@lawyersnlaws.com

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