Not all divorcing couples have the financial resources to support living separately during a divorce. In most cases, there are no provisions or laws that prevent a couple from staying together for financial reasons until the divorce is settled. Read on for some tips to help you deal with this awkward issue.
It's Up to You
If you object to your spouse living under the same roof, you can file a motion with the courts. To show that you have a right to reside in the home, you should be willing to prove the following:
- You and your spouse are unsuitable for living together due to abuse, domestic violence, unfit parenting, or other wrongdoing.
- If you have minor children, you should be ready to show that you are the best custodial parent for the child, at least temporarily, and that the child needs to remain in the family home.
- Your spouse is financially able to afford living separately.
Making the Best of Living Together
If you both agree that you should remain together during the divorce, you should at least put some rules out there from the very beginning. Consider the following tips on peacefully residing in the same home while undergoing a divorce:
1. Make some financial arrangements. You will need to decide who pays which shared housing-related bills if your previous arrangement won't work any longer. You might divide expenses like the mortgage/rent and utilities straight down the middle or base it on respective incomes. It should be mentioned that if your spouse is staying but refusing to pay their share, a court order might prompt more cooperation.
2. Put up some barriers. Needless to say, you will both need your own private space. This can be extremely uncomfortable, but someone will need to vacate the master bedroom. If you have a finished basement, that could be ideal. Guest rooms and dens also make good temporary spousal quarters.
3. Don't go there. Make sure you both agree on how to handle dates, sleepovers, etc. You might just automatically assume your spouse would never bring a new person into the home you both shared, but assumptions like that are dangerous. Address this issue up front so you are both on the same page.
4. Personal responsibility. If you previously had a habit of laundering your spouse's belongings — stop it. Your spouse should begin taking care of their own stuff. Moreover, a housework task schedule might go a long way toward preventing irritation and resentment going forward.
Speak to your divorce lawyer about your plan to stay in the same home during the divorce. They may have more suggestions and may even help you create a separation agreement that addresses the above issues in a more structured and legal manner.