Getting a divorce is often a thriftless business. Not only should you bear enormous legal expenses but also the change of lifestyle can be extremely draining. Urgently, you need to find a place to live in, reconsider your entire budget, and completely rebuild your normal daily routine. No wonder that many couples choose to keep living together while the divorce process is pending. But however financially beneficial it may be, the damage from such a decision can often be far more devastating than a few extra hundreds of dollars.
If you have to go through a divorce living together with your spouse, learn how you can manage this situation with our 7 tips.
Discuss a New Status of Your Relationship
Whether it’s an online divorce or a contested process, marriage dissolution is always very emotional, especially when one party is ready to move on while the other is still cherishing dreams for happily ever after. No matter what side you’re at, you have to accept that it’s happening anyway. What you need to do right now is to make this process as comfortable as you can for the sake of your family and your personal happiness.
If you’re getting a divorce but still living together, discuss how you can make it at least tolerable for both of you. Help the other party realize that sharing a home is the most winning decision for both of you right now. Talk through what you can allow even though you may not like it much and what is absolutely unacceptable. And offer a plan on how you can cohabit together while someone of you is looking for a new place.
Many resources would advise you to avoid each other at any cost but it’s a losing strategy. Yes, you can’t be lovers anymore but you can be home mates for a while. You just need to find the heart to respect each other for the sake of all good you had in the marriage.
Make Up a New Budget Plan
Reconsidering an old budget plan will be necessary if you are separated but living together. If you used to equally contribute to the family budget before, perhaps your plan won’t need significant changes.
But if either spouse was the only income-earner, temporary support of the other spouse will need a discussion. Unless your partner is a monster, keeping you afloat for a little more until you set your feet on the ground shouldn’t be such a problem.
You’ll have to talk through how food, utilities, clothes, and other expenses will be managed. If you have kids or other dependents, you need to decide how their support will be managed. If you were a stay-at-home mom or dad, it’s time to find a job and start contributing to your temporary budget.
Respect Each Other’s Space
Having a divorce living together can be emotionally challenging. So each of you must have a place – or better a separate room with a door – where each of you can retreat and have some time alone. Establish the rules that would define when the other spouse can be allowed (if allowed at all) to enter the room and what actions should precede it: a knock, a message, or a phone call.
Make Up a Staying-at-Home and Going-Out Schedule
You may be divorcing right now but living together sets certain expectations. Who takes the kids to school? Who cooks the dinner? Who can show the plumber in to fix a leaking tap? You don’t have to report about every step you make. But following a certain schedule can make living together a bit more respectful and less stressful.
Meet with Your New Partners Elsewhere
Starting dating with someone else before the divorce is finalized isn’t very reasonable. But sometimes love catches you unarmed and you can’t do anything about it. Meeting with someone else in full view of someone who may still love you can trigger painful emotions and damaging behavior in your ex-partner. Moreover, it can be stressful for the children who are trying to get used to their new reality.
Therefore, if it happened that you started a new relationship before you found a new place to live, try to make it less hurtful for everyone involved. Don’t invite your new partner to your house and avoid conversations connected with your new passion.
Build a New Parenting Schedule
No matter how civilized and respectful you are, divorce makes its amendments and everyone has to adjust to new circumstances, including your kids. Perhaps, a stay-at-home mom will have to find a job now, or spending time together as one family will be too hurtful for either spouse. A parenting schedule should be adjusted accordingly to allow both parties to set a foundation for their after-divorce life. It will also help children to make peace with their parents getting divorced and get used to communicating with them separately.
Start Searching a New Accommodation Right Away
But no matter how well you manage your divorce life together, you should realize that it’s just a temporary solution. Overusing your spouse’s kindness can only cause unhealthy emotional attachment and make it harder to separate in the future – especially for the children. Two divorced people living together is weird, and it can become even weirder when either of you decides to start a new family with a new partner.
Therefore, if you’re the leaving spouse, you must start looking for a new place to stay as soon as possible. Only don’t make it a friend’s couch or a coming back to the parents’ nest. You don’t want to outstay your welcome or lose control over your life. If you can’t afford your own place, consider sharing expenses with someone who’s also looking for a roommate.
Getting divorced but still living together shouldn’t be just a fantasy. With the right strategy, you can make it work. However, both parties will have to invest physically and emotionally.