Even so, the presence of someone new, particularly when paraded in front of the spouse and/or children, can enrage the soon-to-be ex, and also create the suspicion that the relationship began as an “affair” before the separation.
There is no distinction between platonic contacts and ones that are romantic or sexual, although from a practical standpoint, the romantic/sexual relationships are the ones that draw scrutiny and cause complications.
The reason divorce lawyers counsel against dating while the divorce is pending, even if separated, is that it has the potential to increase both the cost and the stress of the divorce trial. Judges, however, rarely punish someone who begins dating – sexually or otherwise – once they have physically separated from their spouse.
The purpose is to determine exactly when the relationship began, whether it is sexual, whether any marital property has been transferred to the new friend, such as by gift, how much money was spent on dating this person, and whether the spouse has said anything that could be used against him or her at trial.
Even if everything is on the up-and-up, the result is a lot of unnecessary aggravation and cost.
It is also a good idea to have two attorneys involved, one to advise each spouse.