Once a spouse has decided a divorce is going to happen, continuing to live together under the same roof can be a really bad idea. Many times though, alternatives to this bad situation aren’t so clear. Money is scarce. Options seem limited. It’s hard to see how life is going to move forward. What’s a couple supposed to do? They can’t continue to live together, but they can’t afford to live apart.
At the beginning of the divorce, most couples need to physically separate, but deciding who stays and who goes is very difficult. Living together while seeking a divorce can cause many issues, including but not limited to:
Most of the time, the difficult question of who is going to stay and who is going to go resolves itself, as the spouses start planning their future apart. Occasionally, though, a family law judge has to get involved and make a preliminary determination as to which party gets exclusive use of the house. This situation is not common.
There are only a few cases where unilaterally changing the locks on the marital home is a good idea. These situations are extremely rare because it is almost always a bad decision to lock your partner out of their home. Also, it’s highly unlikely to work.
If the spouse is on the title – and sometimes even if they’re not – they can make arrangements with a locksmith to come over, usually within an hour, to change the locks, too. Then you’re the one locked out. It’s a race to the locksmith who makes enough money on the deal to pay for his next vacation.
Spouses can play the locksmith game for days, with no healthy or productive resolution. By the time they get this dispute in front of a judge, the judge thinks they’re both crazy. A better choice is if you’re the spouse who gets locked out, hire the best divorce lawyer you can find and negotiate an arrangement that doesn’t involve an enriched locksmith.
During a divorce, times are tight and families who are just barely getting by with one set of bills suddenly have two. This situation presents special challenges for families going through a divorce. Unfortunately, there’s no easy solution. Divorce courts are not much help. Judges simply can’t make money grow on trees and, as much as a court would like to help the parties, there’s only so much money to go around.
This is the time to be frugal and cut back on expenses in every way possible. Help tends to come from extended family and friends. Sometimes, a spouse must go and borrow money from loved ones just to get through the initial stages of a divorce. This can make all the difference, though, since it’s rarely in the best interests of the parties to continue to live together under one roof, a solution to the finances must be found.
And solutions do get found. In our experience, people figure these things out and life moves forward. It may not be the same as it was before for quite a while, but, if the party stays focused on minimizing conflict, they’ll give themselves the best chance at getting a new start.
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