Whether they’re doing it to save on financial costs or to benefit their kids, some divorcing couples choose to continue to live together during the divorce process. Divorce is a tricky business and, much like any relationship, each couple may choose to go through the process differently. Every couple should evaluate their options and decide what works best for them as a family, and as individuals.
Whatever the reasoning, if you and your spouse choose to live together during your divorce, there are a few things you can do to make living together easier.
1. FOLLOW A ROUTINE
Establishing a routine early on in the process can make day-to-day life much easier. Even if you and your spouse are on good terms, it might be best to make boundaries between you two. Consider drawing up a schedule where you handle certain household chores and your spouse handles others. Tackling the little things before they become issues worth arguing over can help you both avoid conflict.
2. PUT YOUR CHILDREN FIRST
Discuss your plans for your children with your spouse early on. Think about when you want to tell them about your divorce, and how. If there will be changes in spending, schools, after-school activities, or anything else that may affect them, talk to your spouse about what you will tell them and how you will handle each change.
Once your children are aware of your divorce, make the home as comfortable for them as possible, and make sure they are dealing with the news of your split in a healthy way. Try to avoid arguing in front of your children, and never badmouth your ex in front of the children. Putting your children in the middle of your confrontation, either by asking them to communicate on your behalf or by telling them details they may not need to know could make the process harder for them.
3. TRY TO GET ALONG
Respect the need of your spouse and try to be as civil as possible. If you have difficulty with this, you may want to look into counseling for the both of you, so that you can learn how to communicate for the time being. You might also want to put dating on hold while you and your ex continue to live with one another. Everyone handles divorce a little differently, and while some people feel a deep loss at the end of their marriage, others feel free and have a desire to get back out into the dating world. However, starting something new while you still live with your spouse can be extremely tricky, and could create more conflict than necessary.
4. MAKE A PLAN
Talk to your spouse about your plan for your divorce, including a timeline for how to move forward. Make a list of goals for yourselves, both as a family and on your own. If you’ve each already obtained legal representation, exchange information about one another’s lawyers. Also, discuss your financial situation until the divorce is finalized. Separate your accounts as best you can, and discuss how payments will be made until an official legal agreement can be drawn up. Consider things like food costs, mortgage or rent, or any expenses for your children. You might also begin discussing asset and property division and how you will make arrangements for child custody.
5. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR NEEDS
While it may be difficult to find your own space when you live with your soon-to-be-ex, try to pay attention to what you need. Going through a divorce is hard, no matter how you cut it. Take time to find a private place for yourself, away from your spouse and your children, and reflect on your feelings. Let yourself be sad, happy, or whatever else your body seems inclined to feel. Divorce is a big step, and closing one chapter of your life to start another can be frustrating and overwhelming at times.
To handle the changes try to do something for yourself. Pick up an old hobby, sign up for a class, or join a gym. Do something purely for you, where you can focus and invest in yourself. Also, make time to speak about what you’re going through to the people you can trust, like family or close friends. You may even consider therapy.
For more help regarding your divorce, contact Westover Law Group.