Living together with your spouse during the pendency of divorce can be a difficult tightrope to walk. As a general matter, we advise couples against it; it’s usually better for at least one spouse to move out at least as soon as a divorce is definitely on the table. However, not every divorcing couple is the same, and other considerations including financial complications can make living together during divorce a necessity. If you are continuing to live with your spouse during the pendency of your divorce, there are a few ways to make life easier. Below, we offer a few tips on how to maintain civility while living with your ex during the divorce. Call a seasoned Englewood divorce attorney for help with a New Jersey family law matter.
Especially if you have shared children, continuing to sleep in the same bed can complicate matters. If you have separate bedrooms or even a living room couch, someone should sleep in the other room. The more separation possible, the better; lying in bed next to someone toward whom you have animosity can be detrimental to your sleep and also confuse the kids.
Coordinate Parenting Time
Even before your divorce is finalized, you can start to work out a parenting time arrangement. Make sure you establish a schedule that allows both parents sufficient time with the kids. You might want to carve out individual time with the kids for each parent each week. That could mean having one parent leave the house for the day so that the other parent can have their private time with the children.
Keep Your Romantic Life Outside the House
Divorce is an important first step in starting the next chapter of your life. You might wish to start dating again, sooner or later. If you are in the midst of a divorce, especially if you still live with your ex, do your best to keep your dating activities outside of the house. Bringing home a new romantic partner is likely to cause emotional turmoil, start fights, confuse or upset the children, as well as potentially harm your side of the divorce case.
Be Courteous and Respectful
Chances are if you have chosen to remain living together during the divorce, you and your ex are capable of speaking to one another without erupting into a vicious argument. Even if you are generally accepting of the divorce, however, many stressors can arise during the process. Do your best to remain collegial and respectful in your communications with your ex. It may serve to treat your ex almost as a “business partner” throughout the process, especially if you have shared children. Keeping things professional and courteous will limit conflicts and reduce stressors from day-to-day challenges.
Talk About Finances
While difficult to talk about, working out financial arrangements is extremely important for exes living together during divorce (as well as for exes who move out). It’s important to determine who is paying for rent, groceries, child care, and other expenses, and whether any temporary alimony or child support makes sense. You can work out these arrangements yourself or through your attorneys, and even memorialize them in a separation agreement. It’s important to have these discussions and make these decisions together, even if through counsel, to avoid heightening any boiling conflicts.
Carve Out Your Own Time
Maintaining your own separate life can be critical during a divorce. If possible, make time for social engagements, exercise, and simply getting out of the house. Keep your space from your ex in order to establish and maintain your separate existence. It helps your mental health, your physical health, and to avoid the conflicts that can arise when you are constantly around your ex during the divorce. If the situation is especially heated, you might even want to divide the space in the home, ensuring that you and your ex each have your own separate space.
Trusted Advice and Representation for New Jersey Divorces
If you’re facing divorce in New Jersey or dealing with child support, child custody, property division, or other family law issues, contact the Englewood family law attorneys Herbert & Weiss at (201) 500-2151.