In the past, we’ve discussed why moving out during divorce deliberations is not always a good thing for a husband to do, (or a wife, for that matter). However, just because you haven’t moved out yet, doesn’t mean that life can go on as usual. After all, divorce is hardly “usual’, and this time tends to be very stressful for most people. So here are a few tips on how to make a clean break in the wake of divorce talks, without having to move out until the time is right.
First, unless the divorce talks were completely amicable, and you and your spouse plan to stay good friends after your marriage is over, you’re going to have to change the way you live your day-to-day life in a few key ways. Obviously, if you’re going to keep living together until the divorce is final, due to how a separation will impact a future custody agreement, moving out is not an option. But just because you’re stuck together, doesn’t mean you have to keep up your marriage routine.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, certainly, but if you plan to get divorced, you and your spouse will need to start slowly disentangling your lives. From a domestic standpoint this can mean many things. In a household where one parent is a stay-at-home parent and the other works full time, this would be harder. But in families where both parents work, it will be a little easier to start separating your intertwined domestic lives.
Start with small things. For example, start by separating your laundry. Instead of having one person who does all of the laundry for the entire family, agree to each do your own laundry, and then take turns to do the kid’s clothes. This will help prepare both of you, both realistically and psychologically, for the coming divorce.
Another way to begin separating your lives would be to split up some of the bills. By separating joint accounts and having each person pay for his or her own phone bill and monthly gym membership, you begin the slow process of separation. Discussing who will pay for what can be a difficult talk to have, but it has to happen at some point, and the process will help ease you both toward independent lives.
There will be lots of things that require adjustment during this time…
You could also take turns to watch the children, giving each other the chance for a night out with friends, instead of evenings spent together in front of the TV. Another suggestion would be to encourage a “dad’s night out with the kids”, and one for mom as well. This would help the kids to start getting used to the idea of doing things with one parent at a time, instead of as a family. On the flip side, this would give each remaining parent an evening alone without the kids.
This next subject is very personal, but it is also very important – sleeping arrangements. Many couples, once they have decided to get divorced, also choose to sleep separately within their home. Sometimes this means taking turns on the couch, or one of you setting up a temporary bedroom in the home office.
Whatever that split looks like, you need to honor it. By that we mean, do not continue to engage in a sexual relationship with your soon-to-be-ex! While this may seem a little extreme, it is for a good reason that we make this suggestion. Firstly, many people view a pending divorce as a license to engage in guilt-free sexual relationships with others, on the grounds that the marriage is almost over, so why wait? This could result in you being left with a surprise STD due to your spouse’s dalliances.
Secondly, some spouse’s have been known to use sexual teasing in the moment to get what they want. Going “only so far” until you agree to a bigger divorce settlement, or a more substantial child support payment. Sounds ridiculous? Maybe, and yet it happens. Lastly, while your spouse may not sleep with anyone else, and may not use sex to try to manipulate you, there is the simple fact that this relationship is over. In order to allow yourself to fully disengage and heal, you should avoid recurring intimacy that will only make the pending divorce harder and more complicated.
Hopefully these suggestions are useful to you, and you are able to work towards some kind of life separation that works for both of you in the future. If you have any other questions about divorce or separation, please contact our experienced divorce attorneys today at 517-886-1000. Someone is standing by to talk to you right now.