During your divorce process, you may find that it’s not possible to move out, and you’re forced to continue living with your soon-to-be ex. Whether you need to stay for financial reasons or it’s the best choice for your family, living with your spouse during the divorce process can be difficult. Here are some tips to help make living together easier while you wait for your divorce to be finalized.
Decide When to Tell Your Kids
Telling your children about your divorce is a highly personal choice for many families, and you and your spouse will be best suited to decide when is the right time to tell your children that you are getting a divorce. Talk with your spouse and come up with a plan to break the news to your kids. You may want to tell them shortly after you’ve started the process, or you may want to wait until you and your spouse are physically separating and one party is moving out. Whatever your choice is, be in agreement with your spouse to prevent surprises.
If your divorce has you and your spouse on less than friendly terms, you may want to devise routines for your family that minimizes your contact with each other. It can be difficult for your children if there is obvious conflict between you and your spouse, so you may wish to find ways to ease tension. You may decide that one parent handles morning routines and the other takes care of evening routines with your children, or rearrange your work schedules to minimize contact between you and your spouse.
Use Your Manners
Remain civil with your spouse. You are demonstrating the way conflict and relationships should be handled to your children, and being rude, mean, or petty can teach them the wrong way to address conflict. Try to model self-control and good manners for your children, and help them to develop healthy ways of dealing with disagreements and conflict.
Leave Your Kids Out of It
It may be tempting to ask your children to speak to your spouse on your behalf, or to grill them about your spouse’s activities, but doing so will only harm them. If your children feel pressured to choose a side between their parents, they may experience unnecessary stress or damage their relationship with one or both parents. If you notice that your spouse is attempting to use your children to communicate, be sure to let them know that it is unacceptable behavior and that direct communication is a condition of living together.
If you can, try to make plans for the future with your spouse. You both will need to work together as your divorce moves forward. Creating a timeline for your divorce process and the changes you need to make will prevent your divorce from dragging on indefinitely. Create a list of goals and deadlines for them, such as moving out, getting jobs, or other necessary steps to complete your divorce process.
Living with your soon-to-be ex-spouse can be a difficult process. A counselor or therapist can provide necessary insight and guidance to help you resolve conflicts and care for your emotional needs during this challenging time. Enlisting the help of an expert to help you learn conflict resolution techniques can make your time living together easier. You may also wish to attend sessions together to help mediate conflicts.
Wait to Date
It can be in your best interest to wait until your divorce is finalized to begin dating, but it also is a kindness to your ex and your children to hold off. If you can’t wait until the process is finished, you may want to wait until you or your spouse has moved out of your home to begin dating.
Save Money and Spend Wisely
Your future is likely to hold many changes as your divorce progresses, and you will need to cover expenses. If you have no income of your own, you may need to secure gainful employment, or you may need to begin saving a portion of your income for later expenses. Try to put your agreements in writing, and consult with a divorce attorney to help you hold each other accountable for your agreements.
Allow Yourself to Grieve
Divorce signals the end of a relationship that had once been deeply important to you. It is normal to grieve the end of your marriage and the changes you are facing. If you are still sharing a home with your spouse, it can be difficult to grieve. Create a time for you to work through your feelings with activities such as taking a walk, listening to your favorite music, journaling, or meeting up with trusted friends.
Talk About Your Needs
Your spouse isn’t a mind reader. Even if you had a difficult time talking about your needs and problems before, it is especially important that you try to make an effort now. Doing so can reduce misunderstandings and tension. If you need something, don’t be afraid to say so. This can empower you later to look after your own best interests, and can help you make decisions for yourself and your children after your divorce.
At Malinowski Hubbard, PLLC, we understand that divorce can be a painful process. Our Fairfax divorce lawyers are committed to supporting our clients in this difficult time with highly personalized service and knowledgeable legal representation. Contact our offices today by calling (703) 935-4222.