Surviving Together While Breaking Apart
- 24 October 2017
- Cindy Vova
- 0 Comments
Is the glass half full or half empty? This question, often the litmus test of the optimist or pessimist, is not even applicable in divorce where the glass is already broken.
Okay, pessimist’s view, but divorce alone is bad enough. However, when a divorce is inevitable, what sometimes becomes the most difficult part is surviving in the same household during the divorce process.
Now, it is easy to say, “I’ll just move out.” Or, what I most frequently hear is “Why can’t you file some kind of motion to get him/her (pick one) out of the house.
Well, the simple fact is, if you’re married and living in a residence together, it is as much the Husband’s home as it is the Wife’s home. Plain and simple. Forget about, “But I owned the home before the marriage,” or “Only my name is on the deed.” These facts may play some role in the ultimate equitable distribution of the home, but when it comes to the time during the pendency of the divorce, what’s yours is his/hers and vice versa.
Of course, as with nearly any “rule” there are always exceptions. When there truly is a situation involving domestic violence, one can apply for and, if the statutory requirements are met, obtain a Domestic Violence Injunction, whereby usually the Court will, initially without a hearing, award the party seeking the injunction exclusive use of the residence, at least until there is a hearing where the court can take testimony and evidence to determine if the injunction should continue. Too often, however, the party seeking the injunction may make false allegations to obtain an unfair advantage in the case. This is, not mincing words, an abuse of the system, and could subject the accusing party to consequences if the judge determines that the injunction was obtained under false pretenses. At the very least, the judge will remember this when hearing the divorce action and I can assure you that he/she will not remember this with a favorable light to the accuser.
One can also file for exclusive use and possession of the marital home. In such an instance, the party seeking exclusive use will have to set forth in the motion, and, of course, prove at a hearing, that such an intolerable situation exists that, absent the court awarding the residence to one party until the divorce is finalized, continued joint occupancy of the home may result in impending domestic violence, or creates such an abusive situation and/or toxic environment, especially where there are children, that the motion should be granted.
So, as unpleasant as it may be to continue to reside with a soon-to-be ex- spouse, given the burden one has to get that future ex removed from the residence, what can be done to make living together tolerable? To that end, I’ve compiled a short list of suggestions to lessen the stress:
Leave the fighting outside the home
Yeah, you’re not getting divorced because all is well in paradise. But there is a time and place for everything. As tempting as it may be to verbally assault your spouse, just stop! There is a time for everything and inside the home is not the place- no matter what the time.
Take the high road
So, if your spouse hasn’t read my helpful hints, or just happens to act like the derriere of a horse, this does not give you carte blanche to act in kind. Remember, in order to have a “fight” it takes two sides. There is nothing more frustrating for one who wants to fight than getting no reaction, and I mean “NO REACTION” from the other party. Let him/her do a Rumpelstiltskin into the ground. Ignore him/her.
Think About How This Affects Your Kids (if applicable)
If you really think that berating your spouse in front of your kids is going to curry favor with them and get them to “like” you more, think again. This includes telling your children that you can’t afford to give them things (trips, toys, whatever) because the other parent won’t give you any money for this. (or trying to buy your way into their hearts by saying the other parent doesn’t give them things and it is only you because you love them more). Though material things serve a purpose, the things that you can give kids the most of, as a parent, is unconditional love. If you explain that things are going to be different because of the divorce, and you may have to economize on some expenditure, without blaming the change on the other parent, (even of the other parent has not contributed a dime at this point-that is something you address with lawyers and the courts-not the kids) but that the kids will still be loved and taken care of, in the long run, they will understand that you, again, were trying to do the right thing.
Understand The Economic Advantage Of Maintaining the Status Quo During the Divorce
Going through a divorce is not inexpensive. And remember, two people simply cannot live on the same amount of money in two separate households as they could while they live together. So before you both start incurring two rents or mortgages, two sets of utility bills, two sets of furniture for your kids and every other expense that will now be multiplied by two, try and economize for the last few months you are able. This also gives both parties an opportunity to get closer to settling the case and see what the economics of the divorce settlement will allow so both parties can budget accordingly.
With a little tolerance during this tough time perhaps you can put enough epoxy on the broken glass so it remains half full a little longer.