Every couple is different, and every divorce is different, so only you can decide whether you should live with your spouse during divorce. Some people stay in the marital home to protect their rights to the property, and other people stay because they cannot afford to move out before the divorce is finalized. Couples may even decide to stay in the same house to better care for their children during their divorce.
No matter what you decide, certain behaviors can make living with your spouse during divorce more bearable:
Think of Your Spouse as a Roommate
When it comes to the household budget and chores, try to treat your spouse like a roommate. Split things down the middle and don’t make any big purchases together. Be respectful of each other’s space and belongings and be courteous and polite to one another.
Set Boundaries and Create Space
Do not sleep with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse! This will only complicate things. Instead, designate certain areas of the home as your space, your spouse’s space, and common space. You can also learn your spouse’s routine, so if you don’t feel like talking to them, you can avoid being in the common space at the same time. This technique can also give you the privacy you need during the divorce.
Do not take privacy too far, however. If you are seeing someone else during your divorce, do not bring them into your marital home.
To create even more space, you can always spend less time at home.
Plan to Move Out
Know that living together won’t be forever if you have a divorce on the horizon. Use your privacy to start planning your future and try to save money for your eventual move.
Agreeing on a realistic budget, dividing household chores, and giving each other space are all tactics to avoid arguments. If you do spend some time in the same room, try not to talk about the divorce case and stay calm and collected.
Try not to overreact or get angry and remember that you can always leave home to go for a walk, retreat into your space, or take a break and talk later.
Be Careful with Your Children
Be especially careful to avoid arguments in front of your children and never use your children as leverage. Always treat each other with kindness and respect in front of your children, and do not say anything bad about your spouse to or in front of your children. Each of you should also affirm your love for your children.
You and your spouse may choose to tell your children about your divorce, but this information may confuse them because you are still living together. Make sure you adhere to your boundaries – and that your children understand them. If you sleep in the same bed, your kids might hope you are getting back together.
Living together during divorce can help both you and your spouse care for your children. Practice time-sharing by making a parenting schedule and do your best to split responsibilities equally. If you and your spouse still get along, you can still share special moments with your children but make sure you focus on your children.
Do your best to be clear and consistent and avoid giving your children false hopes.
Take Care of Yourself
Extend compassion to yourself and your spouse and acknowledge that this is a difficult situation. When you get overwhelmed, tell yourself that this will all be over soon and think about the future you want after the divorce is finalized.
Use the time you would normally spend with your spouse doing things you want to do instead.
Often, friends and activities you have wanted to try can provide reprieve and get you out of the house. You can also read, write in your journal, watch movies, or catch up on TV.
Ask for Help
Divorce is extremely difficult, and you will need extra support from your loved ones. You may also need support from a mental health professional.
Do not hesitate to ask for the help you need.
Communication is often challenging during divorce, so save important conversations for environments where you have “back-up.” Many divorcing couples find seeing a couple’s therapist to be helpful, even if they are only seeking closure.
Similarly, smart couples save important discussions about their case for mediation appointments and attorneys’ offices. Your lawyer can always help you negotiate with the other party – even if that party is the person you are living with.
Regardless of your situation, Family Law San Diego is here to help. We have more than 200 combined years of legal experience and provide compassionate, collaborative legal support.
If you are considering divorce while living at home or need help getting through your unique case, please call us at (619) 577-4900 or contact us online.