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How to Live with an Ex During the Divorce

Unfortunately for some couples, moving out after deciding to file for divorce isn’t an option. Living on your own can be extremely expensive, particularly in cities with a high cost of living. For those who are forced to continue living with their ex, the situation can be extremely stressful and uncomfortable. Here are a few tips to keep sane until the divorce is finalized and one of you can move out.

Tip #1: Stay Civil

While you may be saddened or angered by the divorce, if you’re continuing to live with your spouse, civility can make both of your lives better. Be polite and keep spiteful comments to yourself; otherwise, your wife or husband could use this against you later in court. This tip is particularly important if you have children together. Divorce is particularly hard for kids, so do your best to make this as painless for them as possible by continuing to treat each other with civility.

Tip #2: Plan

Neither of you wants to remain in this situation. To have the best chance of moving forward, you both need to plan your steps in the divorce and create a budget for yourselves. Whoever is moving out will need to ensure they have enough income to support themselves on their own. Whoever is remaining in the home needs to ensure they have enough money to cover the rent or mortgage. Make sure you create a plan for what your situation should look like in the next 3 to 12 months of the divorce process.

Tip #3: Tell the Kids Together

If you have kids, you want to ensure you’re on the same page when it comes to telling them about the divorce. Some couples decide to forgo telling the kids until one parent finally moves out. Other couples choose to be upfront with their children about the situation. Whatever you two prefer, make sure you’re on the same page and are conveying the same information about the divorce to your kids (for example, both of you should tell your child the divorce is not his or her fault).

Tip #4: Don’t Use Your Kids as Weapons

Your children are neither messengers nor weapons in a war. If you don’t want to speak to your spouse, write a note or send an e-mail. Using your kids as go-betweens can foster resentment toward you and can be used against you as evidence in a child custody hearing.

Tip #5: Establish a Routine

For divorcing couples who want to avoid each other as much as possible, arrange your schedules so your comings and goings are extremely predictable. This arrangement will allow you and your spouse to know where each of you is at any time, making it easier for one spouse to avoid another.

Tip #6: Date Later

It’s best to forgo dating until one of you has moved out. To do otherwise is potentially cruel and can be disadvantageous if a judge views this behavior as cruel or spiteful. Try to keep from bringing dates home until the divorce has been finalized or you no longer live in the same household, even if you feel prepared to move on.

Tip #7: Create Your Own Space

For those who feel incapable of grieving without the other spouse seeing, make sure you find a space for your grief. Whether that space is taking the time to journal or going for a long walk, give yourself time and space to feel your emotions without fear of repercussion or intrusion from your spouse.

Tip #8: Save Money

You’re likely still living with your spouse because you can’t afford your own place at present. Many people face similar situations. During this waiting period, it’s best to save up as much money as possible to ensure you can support yourself following the divorce. This step could also involve getting a better job or finding an additional job to supplement your income.

Tip #9: Find a Counselor

If living with your spouse causes you high levels of stress, it may be time to see a counselor on your own, if not together. If you go with your spouse, a therapist could give you the necessary tools you need to communicate with each other effectively and resolve conflicts.

Tip #10: Verbalize Your Needs

A good rule of thumb is “if you didn’t say it aloud, the other person might not know about it.” If your spouse is doing something that distresses you, tell them. Keeping your needs to yourself is a good way to build resentment between you and your spouse, something that may not help an already shattered relationship. There is nothing wrong with stating what you need. Even if they don’t agree with whatever you’re feeling, it opens up an opportunity to discuss it.

If you need assistance filing for divorce, don’t hesitate to call us. Wakenight & Associates, P.C. has been helping Illinois families with their legal issues for years. Our skilled Illinois divorce attorneys are here to assist you in negotiations or in court. Let us see what we can do for you.

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