Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C.
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Living Together During Divorce

Sometimes when parties are divorcing, they continue to reside together under one roof while the divorce is pending. This can be the situation for many reasons. One reason may be that neither party has sufficient income to live on their own. It may be that all their funds are tied up into the house and they do not have a significant payment to put down on another residence. Sometimes, they both want to keep the house in the divorce. In others, it may be that neither wants to move out when there are children involved. Whatever the reason, it can be very difficult to live together while the you are divorcing and setting some ground rules may be in order.

When you have children and are in the process of divorce, it is best that you try to maintain a stable home environment for the children. Do not start dating and bringing your new partner into the home to visit while you are still living with your spouse. It can be confusing for the children and can lead to conflict. Likewise, do not bring other families into the home to live unless your spouse agrees. This can lead to an action in Special Relief to try to evict you and your unwanted guests. In addition, keep your arguments out of the earshot of the children. If you need to address things that stir emotions, put it in writing to your spouse or create a space in your home away from the children where you can go to talk.

Sometimes when you are living together while divorcing, it is not a bad idea to try to create a custody schedule if you have children. This allows you to test out what may work or not work in the future when you eventually do separate. It does not mean you have to leave or not see your children when you are in the home together but you may want to set up rules on responsibility for the children on particular nights and weekends, which may involve all the care for the children, from cooking, to dressing, feeding, bathing, etc. so you have a trial run before you actually physically separate.

Financially, many parties who live together while they are divorcing continue to manage their household expenses as they did when they were not divorcing. This seems to lead to less conflict in the home. You can still and should establish your own separate account so that any excess funds you generate from your own work can be deposited into that account. You may want to deposit your earnings in your separate account and transfer money into your household account to pay the bills. Any money you earn after separation that you keep separate will not be considered in the divorce. You definitely want to close joint credit cards unless they are used strictly to pay household expenses.

While it may not be ideal to be getting divorced and still living together, it can be easier when you set up rules that both parties follow.

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