If you and your spouse are going through a divorce and have decided to remain in the marital home together for the financial benefit or benefit of your family, the close encounters during a stressful and emotional time can cause the relationship to become a difficult one to navigate. Therefore, your Florida Divorce Attorney has compiled a list of tips for you to employ in your relationship with your spouse during this time of cohabitation.
- Make a Plan Regarding the Living Arrangement. It is important to set new boundaries with your soon to be ex while still remaining in your marital home. Therefore, a way to establish boundaries is to designate certain plans or communicate certain courtesies that you wish to follow during this time. For instance, some couples will plan to separate into different areas of the house all together and ask their partner not to encroach on their portion of the property unless necessary. Other couples may choose to simply designate certain bedrooms to each partner and share the common areas. Further, some couples will need to designate responsibilities such as household chores, such as cleaning, laundry, or dinner. In many marriages, these items became common for a single party to take hold of. However, with new dynamics it is important to note if dinner will be prepared for both spouses, or laundry will be done cumulatively, or if each spouse is responsible for their own. However, you decide to divide your home and responsibilities, ensure the expectations are clear. By making these plans and designations early in this process, you will remove a great deal of confusion, anger, frustration, and arguments that may have occurred otherwise.
- If Minor Children are Involved Attempt a Modified Parenting Plan. It is common in a marriage to delegate certain parenting duties to each parent, such as pick ups and drop offs, or bath times, and bed time stories. However, after a divorce, you will no longer share responsibilities and will have to bear the burden of parenting on your own during your designated time sharing days. Therefore, you and your spouse may want to attempt a modified parenting plan. This may include one parent operating as the “sole parent” on certain days, handling waking the children up, getting them dressed, fed, dropped off at school, picked up from school, homework, dinner, and bedtime routines; while the other parent is not involved. This parenting plan adoption may be implemented gradually to aid in the transition for the children and the parents. However, it is a step in providing you and the children with an idea of what life may look like after the divorce is complete. Further, it may allow you to see that the idea of the parenting plan you and your spouse had in mind may not best fit your family, and changes may need to be made in the final parenting plan entered in your divorce.
- Give Space. It is not necessary to occupy the kitchen or living area at the same times. Provide times for each spouse to occupy certain common areas if necessary, to avoid interaction. Space not only allows you to minimize conflict but also provides you with time to self-reflect and provide a glimpse into what a life without your spouse may look like. This space, even if minimal as you are still in the same home, can be beneficial for your mental and emotional health moving forward from your divorce.
- Keep the Peace. Although, it is difficult when confronted with your soon to be ex spouse on a daily basis, it is important to keep calm and maintain a peaceful environment in your home for the physical safety and mental health of both you and your children. Therefore, you should attempt to avoid conversations with your spouse that may lead to arguments. It is advised to avoid discussing the ongoing litigation, as this may result in arguments, or even certain discussions you have, may be held against you later in court. Therefore, some couples will keep the peace by limiting conversations with their spouse to only necessary topics, including children or household items. When engaging in a necessary conversation with your spouse, do so respectfully and formally. Limit the conversation to facts, and use the BIFF model of communication: be Brief, Informative, Friendly, and Firm. Some couples even found it helpful to not engage in face to face communication but rather, formalize the communication through technology. You can use email to discuss child care arrangements and make calendar appointments to keep your spouse informed. Placing limits allows you again to set boundaries and provide for a glimpse into your future as a single individual.
Continuing to live with your spouse during the divorce process can become an extremely difficult arrangement. Therefore, consult with your Florida Divorce Attorney and gain some advice on how to navigate this sensitive relationship and time.
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