In the midst of the turmoil that may be found in divorce, it can be tempting to take the first chance one gets to crash on a friend’s couch or rent an apartment. However, sometimes this is not the best, or most feasible, option. There are number of reasons why a couple may choose to continue living together during the divorce, including monetary influences or custody reasons. While living together at this stage may be emotionally tolling, there are a few different tactics that one can use to make it a little easier on everyone.
Separate, But Together
Divide up sections of the house in order to help maintain peace and privacy. Sleep in separate rooms and even use separate bathrooms if possible. The more you can stay out of each other’s way, the easier it will be to cohabitate.
Forcing a spouse from the home is difficult and can only be done once one has filed a restraining order issued for violent behavior, so sometimes living together may be the only temporary option.
Some states will only permit cohabitation during a divorce under certain stipulations, such as a separation of finances and division of living quarters. Even if you are not required to do so, it is a good idea to work to divide up responsibilities (financial or otherwise) as soon as possible.
In Massachusetts, there is no such thing as legal separation. That means that even if one spouse moves out and they consider themselves “separated”, you are still legally married and divisions of finances and custody cannot be mandated by the court until divorce papers are filed.
When children are involved, many people choose to live together through the divorce process so that both parents can spend ample time with them and some normalcy can be maintained. At the same time, begin to dole out child care responsibilities so that everyone has time to adjust to the new arrangements. Take turns picking them up from school and other regular activities that will need to be divided up after the divorce. Being able to successfully create your own custody schedule and stick to it can mean that the court may not have to mandate custody and this could save you in lawyer fees.
Disagreements are sure to occur, but it is within both of your best interests to avoid escalating fights. In some cases, these fights can turn into domestic abuse claims. If you are upset at each other, separate yourself until you both have had time to cool off.
Please note that if you at all feel unsafe living with your ex-spouse, then you should remove yourself from the home immediately, and speak with the court about taking legal action if you have been at all threatened or harmed.
Before deciding whether or not to cohabitate during the divorce process, it is a good idea to speak with your family lawyer about the pros and cons. If you are in need of legal advice and assistance, please contact the family lawyers at Revelli & Luzzo. We will help to make the divorce process go as smoothly as possible.