Many divorcing spouses with children continue to live together, especially if money is tight and it is impractical to maintain two separate households. While this situation can make it financially easier for both spouses, it can be emotionally difficult and cause tensions to rise. However, it is not impossible to successfully live together during this process. With the right survival strategies, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse can co-exist in the same space while maintaining a civil relationship.
Here are some tips for divorcing spouses who plan to continue to live together throughout the divorce process:
- Telling your kids about the divorce: If you have decided to continue to live with your ex-spouse throughout the divorce process, you might prefer to postpone telling your children about the divorce until one of you leaves the family home. Some couples opt to be more open about the situation with their children, particularly in cases where parents are sleeping in separate rooms and the difference in dynamic is undeniable. Whatever you and your spouse choose to do, it is important to be on the same page about when to tell your kids and how much you plan to reveal.
- Have a routine: Not every situation lends itself to an easy co-existence. Maybe you and your ex are barely on speaking terms, or things tend to get heated when you are around one another. To lessen to the presence of conflict for your children, try arranging a routine that minimizes contact with one another. For example, one of you can handle the morning duties, while the other can take on the necessary evening routines.
- Exercise civility: You might be angry with your ex, and maybe there are a lot of unresolved issues, but if you want to make this temporary living situation work, you have to learn to exercise some self-control and use your manners. Your children are paying attention to how the two of you interact, closely observing how you resolve or handle conflicts, so set a good example. You might not be best friends, but at least be civil with one another for the benefit of your children.
- Your children are not pawns: Regardless if your children are aware of the divorce or not, never use them as a go-between to relay information to your ex. If you notice your ex is treating them like pawns, have a discussion with him or her about direct communication being a condition for continuing to live together.
- Make a plan: Work on a timeline with your ex regarding moving forward with the divorce, putting forth some goals you would like to accomplish within a specific timeframe. This will help prevent you from living in limbo.
- Consider counseling: If this living arrangement is going to continue for a long period of time, consider seeking counseling together, so you are better equipped with ways in which to resolve conflicts to reduce the adverse effect these conflicts might have on your children.
- Put a hold on dating: Try to be courteous to one another and hold off on dating until one of you actually moves out of the family home. This will avoid any nasty confrontations or stressful situations for the children. Even if you are not living with your ex-spouse, it is still recommended to wait until the divorce is finalized before hitting the dating scene.
- Be smart about your finances: If you have opted to stay in the family home due to your financial situation, then you should take this opportunity to make a plan to save money or secure gainful employment. Both you and your ex-spouse should also put any agreements you make regarding this temporary situation into writing with a lawyer, so you are both held accountable to follow through each step.
- Make time and space for grieving: When your ex is still living with you, it might feel like you are not able to properly mourn the end of your marriage while still sharing a household. You need to find some time to deal with your feelings, whether through journaling, taking a walk, or spending time with trusted friends on a regular basis.
- When it comes to your needs, speak up: Communication might not have been your strongest feature as a couple, but you and your ex-spouse are going to have to vocalize your needs to make this situation run smoothly, even if you are not used to it. Being clear about what you need will help you in the long run, especially as you continue to co-parent even after one of you moves out.
Divorce Attorneys in North Carolina
Making the decision to divorce is not an easy one, especially for couples who have been married for some time. Unfortunately, sometimes it is a necessary decision. At Krusch & Sellers, P.A., our firm practices exclusively in divorce and family law matters and is committed to resolving divorce cases without the necessity of a trial. If necessary, however, we are always prepared to advocate for the protection of our clients’ rights and interests in court.
Our North Carolina legal team has over 65 years of combined experience and are prepared to handle complex issues, including property division, child custody issues, and spousal support. You do not have to endure this tough time alone.
Contact our North Carolina office today at (704) 343-8811 to schedule an appointment with an attorney at Krusch & Sellers, P.A.