Every divorce has unique elements, including the living arrangements between the divorcing spouses. In fact, many couples in Maryland choose to live together until they are ready to formally file for divorce. According to state law, filing for a no-fault divorce requires that the couple live separately for a full year. However, this may not be feasible financially or for other reasons. In those cases, the divorcing partners may decide to temporarily reside in the same home or apartment.
Even in a divorce where one spouse has committed adultery or could otherwise be considered legally at-fault, the separating parties could decide to cohabit. This does not have to be as stressful as it may sound, especially if the adults follow a few simple strategies. Parties who do decide to cohabit before getting divorced may adversely affect their ability to obtain a divorce. Contact us to determine whether cohabitation may affect your ability to obtain a divorce.
Develop New Rules for the Home
When divorcing spouses are under the same roof, they need to establish new house rules. These can include everything from communal to private spaces. By writing down expectations, the couple can create a roommate situation where they avoid getting into major confrontations over small incidents.
Divide Finances Fairly
It can be tempting for the spouse who makes more to withhold finances during a divorce, but it makes no sense. Instead, the divorcing couple should be transparent about bills and aim to equitably cover expenses. For instance, if one person makes 80 percent of the combined household income, then that person should shoulder 80 percent of the combined bills. Not only is this fair, but it helps show the court that the divorcing parties can work together.
Children Should Come First
Even very young children can sense that something in the family dynamic has changed. Neither parent should tell the children about the impending separation alone, particularly if the parents will be living together for an extended period. However, older children may be advised about the divorce by both parents. This allows them to ask questions and feel less sidelined by the experience. Above all else, divorcing parents still living together need to assure their children that the children will always come first.
Take Care of the Home
If the divorcing couple lives in a house they own jointly, they should maintain the upkeep of the property. They may even want to get it ready to put on the real estate market, so they have a lump sum to divide and use to move into separate homes. Ignoring lawn care, roofing needs, heating equipment tune-ups, and other essentials will only backfire. If an appliance breaks down, the divorcing couple should pay for repairs or a replacement, just like during the marriage.
Have a Projected Cohabitation End Date
Weeks and months can fly by, even when divorced couples are living together in a somewhat stressful situation. For that reason, each party should consider a timeline to end the cohabitation arrangement. This allows them to work toward their mutual end goal, which is a divorce. If necessary, the couple may want to speak with their respective family law attorneys to get advice on ways other husbands and wives have successfully moved from living together to paying for two residences.
Bel Air Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Work with Individuals Seeking Divorce
If you are thinking about filing for divorce in Maryland, talk to a Bel Air divorce lawyer at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. We will walk you through the divorce process and offer the next best steps. For a free consultation, call us at 443-589-0150 or contact us online. Located in Towson and Hunt Valley, Maryland, we serve clients throughout Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.