Dannenbaum Law Firm, PLLC

Maintaining your sanity while cohabitating during divorce

Like many individuals who have realized that a divorce is best for them, once you've gotten over the emotional hurdle, the main issue you're left to face may be financial. You're working toward a brighter, happier and more stable future, and you know that it'll be worth it in the long run, but the fact of the matter is that, in the short term, your budget may be tight.

Even the quickest, cheapest, most efficient divorces still cost money, and until you complete the proceedings, you may find yourself shorter on funds than you'd like. To address this issue, many divorcing spouses continue to cohabitate, at least for the time being, until finalizing the divorce process. However, you're getting a divorce because you no longer want to live together, so how can you make this living situation work in the short term and come out the other end with your sanity intact?

Tips for living with your soon-to-be ex while preparing to divorce

It may help you to know that you're not alone in this scenario; due to the financial realities of day-to-day life and the economic recession, many divorcing couples have little choice but to live together while they proceed with their divorces. Thankfully, advisors have developed a few coping strategies that may make the ordeal easier:

  • Communicate civilly
  • Establish routines
  • Develop a financial plan
  • Wait to date

There are other tips, too, that you may find helpful, such as seeing a counselor for ways to resolve conflicts and minimize negativity if you know that you're going to have to continue living with your ex for quite some time. Following these basics, however, can go a long way towards making your cohabitation bearable.

Communicate civilly

Difficult though it may be at times, attempting to remain mannerly during your interactions with your soon-to-be ex can make a big difference, even — or especially — when conflicts arise. You'll likely also find things will go more smoothly if you verbally state your wants and needs, rather than expecting your ex to anticipate or respect them without being certain of what they are. You can be calm and respectful about expressing your desires while still being clear, and this clarity may even help stop disagreements before they start.

Establish routines

If you and your ex are struggling to maintain civility, consider working together to determine routines that minimize contact with each other. Divide household duties and chores in a way that minimizes interaction, and even consider rearranging work schedules if possible, at least temporarily, so that time spent together is at a minimum.

Develop a financial plan

Since the main reason you are continuing to cohabitate during your divorce is financial, it may help both of you to create a timeline with steps that give you goals to work towards, such as creating a plan to find lucrative employment within a three-month time frame, or saving up a certain amount of money over the next six months so that you can afford the down payment on an apartment, for example. Having established goals may give you a sense of direction and a future to look forward to.

Wait to date

Regardless of how amicable or strained your relationship is with your ex, it's courteous and usually just better for everyone if you wait to begin seeing other people until your divorce is finalized and you or your ex has moved out.

The sooner, the better

No matter what you do or how hard you try to minimize conflict, living with your ex during divorce proceedings is likely to be a stressful time for the both of you. The quicker you can get through the process, the sooner you can begin your new life, so you may wish to seek legal guidance in the Arlington, Virginia, area to help you get through your divorce proceedings as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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