The decisions leading to a divorce are never easy, but the Michigan divorce process is relatively simple and straightforward. However, regardless of the terms and requirements of your split, a Michigan divorce can take several months to a couple years to complete. And since the state of Michigan doesn’t recognize legal separation, many couples opt or simply need to cohabitate during the divorce process. Fortunately, there are some simple and effective tips to help ensure you all survive this difficult period so you can move on and have a much happier and healthier future.
Define Your Own Space
During the divorce process, you’ll want and need some extra space. After all, you’re now more like roommates than partners. The first step should be to move out of the master bedroom. Sleep in an extra room or opt for the couch if necessary. If you’re fortunate enough to have separate bedrooms, move your essential items to your new room. If not, attempt to only access the master bedroom when it’s empty to avoid unnecessary arguments.
Don’t Walk on Eggshells, But Also Don’t Fan Flames
Whether you have kids or you’re just waiting for the divorce to be finalized so you can move on separately, try to avoid tiptoeing or walking on eggshells. Your current situation may not be ideal, but you’ve agreed to cohabitation during the divorce. So swallow the angst and stay balanced. At the same time, avoid as many awkward or explosive discussions as possible while in the home. Conversations should be minimal and light without resorting to anger, contention, repetitive fighting, or name calling.
Split Parenting Duties and Create a Schedule
If kids are involved and co-parenting or shared custody of any kind is an option, parenting duties and responsibilities will need to be set prior to dividing those tasks between two separate households. Be open with the kids about the changes they can expect. Work out schedules involving morning routines, transportation to school and activities, homework schedules, evening planning including bath and bed routines. Make lists, keep a calendar, and practice the routines so there are no surprises or misunderstandings when separate households are implemented.
Don’t Give into Temptation
Most couples honestly want nothing to do with each other once the marriage is over–even during the divorce process, but there are some who agree to a final roll in the hay. This is almost never a good idea. Even if you both agree it’s the last time, one of you is likely to misunderstand or refuse to accept the other’s intention. And if a kid is the result of the indiscretion, you may be connected to your ex for the rest of your life.
Make Personal Good Use of Your Situation
Your Michigan divorce lawyer should discuss how drastically your life can and should change after a divorce. And while most of it is for the better, the number of financial changes and increased personal or parental responsibilities can still come as a surprise. But this cohabitation time is a wonderful opportunity to save money towards your future, pay off or down lingering bills, and arrange or agree to custodial issues such as holidays and vacation options. Work with your soon-to-be ex to separate possessions, eradicate joint accounts, organize legal documents, and make the divorce process and your lives, in general, run a lot smoother once you both regain your freedom.