Living Together During the Divorce Process

The majority of couples heading for divorce face the uncomfortable and often very stressful transition period of living under the same roof while knowing you are heading in different directions.  One of the many positive attributes of the mediation process is that you can work out personal and financial guidelines while you are still living together.

According to NY Parenting there are several helpful tips that everyone should consider during this awkward transition period.

1.  Address the issue with your children.  I would add that you should seek a therapist’s help with guidance on this issue, but generally speaking you should say as little as necessary while making sure that they feel loved and that the tension is not their fault.  Never speak negatively of the other parent to your children now or ever.

2.  Create a schedule if possible.  You can begin your independent life by attending classes or otherwise giving each other some time to themselves in the shared space in an effort to reduce some of the stress.

3.  I think that everyone can use support during this time regardless of who made the decision to divorce.  For this reason I would recommend that speaking with a good therapist for support and guidance would be helpful for anyone going through a divorce.

4.  As noted above, mediation can help.  As per the above referenced article, “A few divorcing couples can speak calmly together. Most can’t. And, once adversarial lawyers get involved, constructive communication usually becomes more difficult, if not impossible. People tend to “dig in.”

But with a mediator sitting with both spouses, the parties are better able to speak and listen to one another. You might be asked, “Now, while you are both still in the marital home, how can you agree to share it in a way you each feel is fair, and that will reduce the stress between you?” You would be encouraged to brainstorm options, and then to discuss and decide among them.

The article cites several helpful books as resources.  Try the following resources, ““Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most,” by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen; “Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Compassion,” by Marshall B. Rosenberg; and, “Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In,” by Roger Fisher, William L. Ury, and Bruce Patton.

This is a very difficult time and you need to make yourselves as comfortable as possible.  This too shall end.  You will come out the other side and begin living your independent, healthier lives.