While millennials get blamed for a lot, one thing they can’t be blamed for is a rise in the divorce rate. That’s because, between 2008 and 2016, the rate dropped by more than 18 percent.
Despite this, divorce is still occurring in an overwhelming number of marriages. And the overall divorce rate won’t matter much to you if your own marriage is coming to an end.
When a divorce is imminent, you’ll have a lot of decisions to make. One big one is where you’ll live during the divorce.
If you’re going through a rough spot, keep reading to learn questions you need to ask yourself before you decide whether living together while divorcing is an option for you.
Are You Safe in Your Home?
If you feel unsafe in your home, the answer to the question, “should I move out of the house before the divorce,” is simple; yes.
Maybe domestic abuse is the reason behind your divorce to begin with. Or your soon-to-be-ex has become violent now that he or she knows you’re leaving.
Whatever the case, if there is any chance that your situation may become physically or emotionally unsafe, it’s important to get out right away. Stay with friends or family if possible, as opposed to staying alone in a hotel, in case your ex does come looking for you.
If you need to stay in your home for any reason, you’ll need to figure out how to your spouse to move out during the divorce instead. This may require obtaining a restraining order against your spouse and getting a court order for him or her to leave the house so that you may remain.
If your spouse fights the restraining order and the order to leave your house, you need to decide whether or not you think it’s likely he or she will break the order. If you feel they might, it may still be safer for you to stay with friends and family rather than putting yourself or your children at risk by staying put.
Are Children Involved?
Divorce is always emotionally difficult. But when children are involved, things get much more complicated.
That isn’t to say you shouldn’t get divorced if you and your spouse have children.
In fact, research shows that most children will adjust to divorce within 2 years. But children of parents who constantly fight and don’t get a divorce experience more lasting emotional problems.
However, there are a few things you can do to help make the adjustment to a separated family less harmful to your children.
Deciding Who Stays with the Kids and Who Goes
Both you and your spouse remaining in the home together is one way to protect your children. But this is only a viable option if you and your spouse are on good terms.
The last thing you want to do is expose your children to endless arguments. If you know that you won’t be able to keep your fighting from occurring in front of your kids, it may be best for one spouse to move out.
The other option is to keep your children in your home and have you and your spouse trade off who stays there, on a set schedule.
If you know that you and your spouse will be co-parenting after the divorce is finalized, this may be a great way to start practicing while also protecting your children from some of the trauma of your divorce.
However, if you can’t trust your spouse or if one of you won’t be around enough to care for your children on your own, this may not be an option. In this case, it may be best for the primary caregiver to stay in the home with your kids while the other moves elsewhere.
Minimizing the Effect of Divorce on Your Kids
Another factor to consider is whether you will be fighting your spouse for custody. If you think you may need a child custody lawyer because your spouse thinks he or she deserves custody that you don’t feel they should have, this can make living together tense.
You don’t want your children to see you fighting with your spouse over who will be caring for them after the divorce.
While you don’t want your kids to see you arguing, that doesn’t mean you should keep everything from them. Being honest with your children about what is happening is important. Give them notice before any big changes occur, like one spouse moving out.
This will give your kids time to adjust to the changes, making them easier to handle.
Is Supporting Two Households Financially Possible?
If finances are tight, there may be no point in arguing about who has to move out in a divorce.
If you and your spouse can’t afford a second household and don’t have family or friends one of you can stay with, you’ll both need to remain in the house.
Unless you are on good terms, you may want to set boundaries on your living situation. This could include setting rules about having guests over, assigning separate spaces for each of you to use, and agreeing to split costs like food and household items.
If you have children together, deciding to keep any arguments to yourselves is a must.
If you know your divorce is likely to drag on, you might consider selling your home to give yourselves money to buy or rent two smaller properties that you could live in separately.
Living Together While Divorcing
Whether or not you and your spouse will be living together while divorcing is something you’ll need to decide for yourself. You’ll need to consider your personal situation, your children if you have them, and whether it’s financially responsible for one of you to move to a second home.
But there are other parts of your divorce that you shouldn’t handle on your own.
If you and/or your spouse have decided to end your marriage, it’s time to decide whether you want the help of a lawyer to navigate the process. Click here to learn 8 reasons why a divorce lawyer might be a good choice for you.