Living situations can be rocky before, during, and after a divorce. Ideally, you and your spouse would live apart as you navigate a major lifestyle change, each of you having your own space to rediscover yourself. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Some couples going through the divorce process live with each other during the entire process and a little after due to many reasons: finances, children, or refusal to leave the marital home.
Whatever the case, it can be an uncomfortable situation sharing a living space with your spouse whom you’re divorcing. Though it’s not ideal, there are ways to make this arrangement tolerable until the proceedings are final. Continue reading to learn how to survive living with your spouse during a divorce to make life a little easier.
Have Separate Rooms
Sharing a room as a couple can be great for connection, intimacy, and feeling closer to one another. During a divorce proceeding, however, it can be the complete opposite.
If you can’t live separately, for the time being, have separate rooms in the house or apartment you share. Take advantage of the guest bedroom and have one of you sleep in there while the other can dwell in the master bedroom. Once you delegate who takes which room, focus on making your space your own. Make sure none of your spouse’s belongings are in there, if possible. Having a bed, closet, and general space to call your own while you live with your spouse can be a refreshing escape.
Create a New Budget for Yourself
Before you and your spouse separated and started the divorce process (and sometimes after), you may have shared finances like bills, credit cards, rent, mortgages, gas, food, and so on. Now is the time to start focusing on yourself again so you can be financially prepared when the divorce is final. Expenses will look different as you adjust to the single life, so it’s wise to stick to a budget.
While living with your estranged spouse throughout the divorce process, create a new budget for yourself as a single person. Work into your budget groceries for one, gas for your vehicle only, cell phone, grooming products, etc. You may need to discuss how to split finances during the divorce process with your spouse or your attorney. If you can’t afford bills during the divorce process, your divorce attorney can file a temporary motion requesting that your spouse be financially responsible for temporary spousal maintenance.
Whether you can or can’t afford to have your budget during the divorce process, now is a great time to create one for yourself to use after the divorce is final. You can meet with a financial advisor or get help from family and friends to help create a budget for your life post-divorce.
Practice Good Communication Skills With Your Spouse
Living with your spouse during the divorce process doesn’t mean you have to spend time with them. Having a separate room and sleeping apart is a great way to have your own space within your shared home or apartment. Though you will be sleeping separately and not sharing routines like you once did, you will still need to communicate with each other.
Now is a great time to start practicing good communication skills with your spouse. You don’t have to talk often and discuss things in your personal life, but you will need to communicate if you have children, share expenses, pets, and shared chores while living together. If you have children together, positive communication is crucial for their well-being, so now is the time to build a positive, successful co-parenting relationship. If you don’t have children together, you’ll still need to communicate about other things while living together. Work on improving your communication with your spouse for a more pleasant environment.
Make Plans to Live Separately
While living separately isn’t feasible right now, there will come a time when you and your spouse will no longer live together. Once the divorce is final then your financial situation will change whether that means you’re responsible for or are receiving spousal maintenance, child support, or other finances.
Once you have a budget, make your plans to live separately from your spouse. The divorce decree (the document that includes all details about the dissolution of marriage, including child custody, spousal maintenance, and division of property) will include who is financially responsible for what post-divorce. Depending on your financial state after divorce, it may take a little bit to get on your feet as you adjust to new expenses and financial responsibilities. Whatever the case may be, make plans to live separately once the divorce is final. This could include living with a friend or family member temporarily or buying your own home.
Living with your spouse during the divorce process can be difficult, but it is possible to cohabitate with them if you follow the tips above. Remember that your current living situation is temporary and there will come a time when you’ll have your own space again. Following the tips above can help you and your spouse make living together during the divorce process a more positive experience.
If you are going through the divorce process and are looking for a family law attorney in Kansas (in and around the Leawood area) or a family law attorney in Kansas City and the surrounding area, The Law Office of Young, Kuhl & Frick, LLC can help. We’re dedicated to the practice of family law and can help guide you through any family law matter, keeping your best interests in mind. With over fifty-four years of combined legal experience, our family law firm is comprised of a team skilled in negotiation and litigation, handling family law matters from the most complex to the most straightforward.
We have offices in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and Leawood, Kansas (consultations by appointment only). In addition to our two physical locations, our firm’s family and divorce attorneys have practiced in Jackson, Clay, Cass, Lafayette, Platte County, Missouri, and Johnson County, Kansas. Contact our family law firm today to schedule a consultation – we can meet in person or face-to-face via Zoom.