While moving out of the family residence is common for some families during the dissolution process, it is not always the case.
There are a myriad of reasons why parties choose to remain living in the same household. It is far more expensive to provide for two households rather than one. Parties remain responsible for their community debt. Sometimes, parties need to remain together for the sake of their children. Whatever the reason may be, here are some considerations if you are living with your former spouse during the dissolution process.
- Reassure Your Children
Your children must know that their parents love and support them. This process is incredibly stressful for your children. They need to be reassured that their parents will continue to love, support, and be there for them. Be sure that these discussions are age appropriate and be sure that both parents are present. Reassure your children that you will be there for bedtime, breakfast, homework, their sports game. Your children need to know that you remain a team.
- Refrain from Discussing the Matter with Your Children
There are many emotions associated with going through a divorce. At times you may want to express your anxiety, stress, anger, sadness related to the matter. This may be challenging if you are still living with your former spouse and children. Be sure to remain civil. It is easy to resort to negative emotion when your former spouse forgets or “drops the ball” on a chore or an obligation. Be mindful that your children are listening and can pick up on any negative tone or talk relating to the other parent. You want to remain civil and refrain from any comments about the other parent. After the divorce, you will no longer be legally related to your spouse, but your spouse will remain the parent of your child for the rest of your child’s life. Facilitating and encouraging a positive relationship between child and parent are crucial to the wellbeing of your child.
- Maintain Your Confidentiality
Along the same lines, be sure that any phone call to or from your attorney is in confidence. The same goes for your email account. You want to be careful not to accidently discuss case strategy within earshot of your former spouse.
- Discuss Your Financial Arrangement
Remember that your expenses and financial obligations do not halt upon filing for divorce. Communicate with your former spouse regarding a budget and how to best pay the community expenses. If you are uncomfortable to discuss this directly, have your attorney communicate with opposing counsel.
- Communication is Key
Be sure to have a system to effectively communicate with your former spouse. Keep a joint calendar of your children’s activities, homework assignments, and appointments. Explore the option of using Our Family Wizard or Talking Parents to discuss matters related to your children. Try not to sweat the small stuff. Of course, it can be angering if your former spouse picks up your child 10 minutes late, but remember the big picture. Communicate and have a plan for who will pay which bill and when.
- Be Gentle with Yourself
To say that going through a divorce is hard is an understatement. Be sure to invest in self-care. Self-care does not need to be elaborate. At the minimum, schedule 10 minutes to yourself every day. You cannot be there for your children if your batteries are not recharged. It is important to ask for help and seek resources to get through this difficult time.
While this arrangement may pose some challenges, it can also be a time to explore collaborative strategies and ways to settle the divorce, saving both parties not only costs but also being able to gain a peace of mind.