One of the biggest concerns people often have when they are planning to file for a divorce is where they will live once their spouse gets notice of the divorce. There are basically only three options when it comes to deciding where to reside. Each option has its pros and cons. This three-part series will discuss the options of where to live during the divorce to help guide the decision-making process.
Option 1: Cohabitation
If things are relatively cordial between the spouses, they may choose to continue to live together in the marital residence. The primary benefits of continuing to cohabit the marital residence are saving money and providing continued stability for minor children. Certainly, one mortgage payment or rent payment is better for the couple than two payments for two separate residences, and for any children, continuing to live with both parents in the familiar residence is better than having to move. Plus, there is something comforting about being able to start the divorce process without having to upend your whole life.
The risks of cohabitation during the divorce proceedings can’t be ignored. First, eventually, the divorce will be finalized, and the spouses will cease cohabitation; dissolving the relationship between the spouses is the whole point of divorce, after all. Thus, cohabitation during the divorce is just delaying the inevitable. The financial benefits and benefits to the children of cohabitation will be short lived.
If you choose to cohabit with your soon-to-be-ex, we recommend you use the time to save money for the imminent severance of the finances—save money for when you must pay your own rent or mortgage on your own. Also use the time to look for new places to live that fit your budget that keep your kids in their same school if possible. Be proactive with the time you spend cohabiting.
The second major risk of cohabiting during the divorce is the danger of the relationship devolving into a truly ugly, hurtful, or even dangerous situation. Once a divorce is imminent, many people no longer feel the need to be as polite and friendly as they once were. Consequently, the normally tranquil living arrangement in the house turns into a toxic, bitter situation that is painful and stressful to endure, and it cannot be hidden from the children.
At Youngblood Law, PLLC, we have seen enough cohabitation-gone-wrong situations to know the risks are serious. We have seen spouses actively bait each other into arguments for the purpose of audio or video recording the event to help bolster their legal case. We have seen parties instigate serious conflicts in hopes of calling the police out for a domestic assault arrest. We have also seen people get violent where injuries were sustained and arrests were made.
At Youngblood Law, PLLC, we don’t recommend cohabiting during the divorce process. We believe the risks are too high for the short-lived benefits. However, if the parties can truly get along AND if our client uses the time wisely to put away money and get the required ducks in a row for eventual single living, then cohabiting may be a viable option.
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Youngblood Law, PLLC is a Fort Worth, Texas family law firm focusing on helping people define their new normal through their divorce and beyond. This essay is intended for educational use only, and is not a replacement for competent legal counsel. If you are facing a family law matter, we recommend obtaining competent legal counsel like Youngblood Law, PLLC. For more information contact us at 817-601-5345, find us on the web at www.youngblood-law.com, or on your mobile device, open your browser and type in lawfw.biz and press Go. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/youngbloodlawPLLC/