Some state laws require that two spouses live apart for a certain period of time if they want to file a no-fault divorce. In other states, however, you have the choice of whether one spouse moves out of the house or whether you continue living together as you wait for the divorce to be final.
If you choose to keep living together, you should keep certain things in mind that can help make the divorce process easier.
Should You be Living With Your Spouse During Divorce?
This is a highly personal consideration, and everyone should consider whether living under the same roof as her soon-to-be ex-spouse is right for her. First and foremost, if you have experienced domestic violence or believe you are at risk of harm by your spouse, you should ensure your safety first. You can leave, or you might be able to obtain a protective order that orders your spouse to leave the house and stay away from you.
If domestic violence is not an issue, you could save money by continuing to have only one housing payment, a set of utility bills, groceries, and more. By saving money now, you might be in a better position following your divorce.
In addition, if you and your spouse own a home together, you might not want to leave the home during the divorce. If you leave, it can be quite difficult to get back in and get property rights to the home following the divorce. Additionally, if you have children, both parents continuing to live together can provide support and stability, as well as help set the stage for healthy co-parenting following the divorce.
5 Tips To Help You Remain Sane While Living With Your Spouse During Divorce
Even though there are reasons why you and your spouse are getting divorced, it is important to set those reasons aside as much as possible if you decide to keep living under the same roof. You should always make an effort to do the following:
Never put the kids in the middle – When spouses argue, it can be all too easy to bring the children into the conflict or say bad things about the other parent to your children. Not only is this unhealthy for the kids, but it also can affect your custody determination. Courts want to know that parents sharing custody will encourage a healthy relationship with the other parent (when possible) and that parents will work together for the best interests of the child. Striving to get along and keeping your kids out of any conflict can only help the custody portion of your divorce case.
Work together with finances – Since you are theoretically saving money by continuing to share a home, you should try to make the smartest financial decisions to maximize the benefits of living together. Decide whether you will pay bills from a joint bank account or split the bills from each of your individual accounts. Remember that now is not the time for big purchases or vacations – no matter how much you might want to get away. Your assets and debts are still part of your marital estate, and wasting those assets or accruing new debts can cause complications for you in the divorce case.
Keep it civil – Spouses who are in the middle of divorce generally have many differences of opinion. However, constant disagreements and fighting can only make the divorce more stressful – or even more expensive. When spouses are civil, they can often agree on the major issues in their cases without court intervention. Doing so often saves significant money and time, as litigation is a costly last resort in a divorce case. If you are constantly fighting, your spouse may decide to cause complications in the divorce and refuse to cooperate, which can lead you right into court.
Give each other space – If you have come to the decision to end your marriage and see little hope for reconciliation, it is only natural that you and your spouse will start to drift apart – even if you are living under the same roof while the divorce is pending. It is not a bad idea to move into separate rooms if you haven’t done so already. In addition, you should cultivate a life outside of your marriage and encourage your spouse to do the same. If your marriage is truly over, you need to let go of expectations of how much time you spend together or what night of the week is “date night.”
Don’t Be Afraid to Move Out – If it becomes clear in a few weeks or months into your attempt to live together that it’s not going to work, do not be afraid of throwing in the towel and moving out (or asking your husband to move out, if that makes more sense). There is no point in making yourselves miserable for another few months while you wait for your divorce to be final.
Many people decide to live together while they get divorced, and there is no right or wrong decision in this situation. If you choose to live together, you should keep in mind how doing so might affect the outcome of your divorce case.
My ex and I lived together until a judge awarded temporary possession of the house. We both wanted it. I was willing to move out, but not without a parenting plan I could live with if it became permanent, and of course, we didn’t see eye to eye on parenting time either. She moved into our spare bedroom and in general, we did our best to stay out of each other’s way. For us, domestic violence or the threat of a false allegation was not an issue, nor was fighting in front of our kids. She’d had an affair and we could never recover from it.
The other thing about the house is to make sure you can realistically keep it. A judge may award one of you the house, but you typically have to buy the other partner out and refinance on your own. I did the math and was pretty sure I could and she couldn’t.. She fought for it and won and is currently quite house poor