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Stuck in the house with your unwanted spouse during the divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2024 | Child Custody, Cohabitation, Divorce, Marital Residence

During your Florida divorce proceedings – that stretch of time between deciding to end your marriage and having the official divorce decree in hand – you may feel adrift in uncharted territory. You are not together, but you are not yet separate. Both of you must make decisions about where to live during this stretch of time. Who stays and who goes?

Life together in the marital home pending divorce

Because of financial issues, children or other logistical or personal matters, some divorcing couples decide to stay together – but also apart – within the marital home pending resolution of the court proceedings. Today we consider ideas for keeping the peace, avoiding conflict and maintaining privacy during this sometimes-difficult transitional situation.

Negotiate house rules

Its good to have an agreement about important aspects of the living arrangement. Consulting an experienced family lawyer is smart as they can advise about any legal concerns such as the impact on custody or property interests of staying or moving out.

Depending on the current nature of your relationship and whether your spouse is likely to adhere, you may be able to reach agreement informally. However, it may be advisable to have a lawyer help you negotiate and draft the agreement between the two of you. If your spouse drafts it, be sure to have your attorney look it over before signing.

Issues to consider:

  • How will you resolve conflict? Can you both commit to keeping it to a minimum, especially in front of children?
  • Will you each have your own room and perhaps other space such as an office? How will you handle the common areas of the home?
  • How will you divide household expenses? If you have children, will you all eat together?
  • How will you divide children’s care, transportation and activities? What about pet care, if applicable?
  • What about use of vehicles?
  • How will chores and lawncare be completed?
  • And others

Survival tips

Be sure to take good care of yourself during this challenging transition. Regular self-care and self-compassion are musts. Try to schedule time with friends and family. Try to fit in hobbies and activities you enjoy like meditation, reading, yoga, running, walking, joining a gym, doing volunteer work or whatever appeals to you. It may be a time to consider professional counseling if you are dealing with anxiety, anger or depression.

Cautionary words 

Continuing to live together may be unwise if your soon-to-be-ex has characteristics that could be harmful to you or your kids. For example, are there problems with untreated mental health concerns, alcohol or other substances, anger, conflict, controlling behavior or even abuse or neglect? You must put your and your children’s safety and comfort first.

Whatever arrangement you decide is best for you and your children, get through the divorce process as well as you can and remember it will not be forever.

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The LAW OFFICES OF FORREST & Forrest, PLLC represents individuals in Fort Lauderdale in high-asset divorce matters. Daniel Forrest is board-certified family lawyer and mediator serving the South Florida area.

  • The Florida Bar | Board Certified | Marital & Family Law
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