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How to Determine Living Arrangements During and After Divorce

No matter what, divorce is difficult. On an emotional level, divorce can be difficult to own publicly. Inevitably, people lose things in their divorces, even if they ultimately gain more. Quite often, divorce is the best and healthiest option for couples. In some cases, it can even be done amicably, with exes ultimately becoming friends. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t hard — and it certainly becomes even harder when children are involved.

As difficult as a divorce can be emotionally, however, it is just as or even more difficult to cope with on a logistical level. This is particularly relevant when divorcing couples are considering where to live during and after their divorces.

It’s generally advised that most people should begin to look for alternate accommodations after they have decided to get divorced. This would mean that they would seek new accommodations while still in the separation period. Different states will have individual laws surrounding separation and divorce. For example, your state may have a mandatory 60-day waiting period required of you upon filing for divorce (like Kansas does). However, you can begin moving to a different home during this 60-day waiting period; the waiting period should only apply to the divorce decree itself. But this is not always as easy as it may initially seem. Different couples and families will have different means, as well as different needs.

Should I Move Out Early?

Some divorcing couples may find it easier to live with one another as they divorce, but others may find this arrangement to be particularly painful. Generally speaking, someone will need to move eventually. It’s usually better to at least begin the process of looking for a place to stay sooner rather than later. The first step will, of course, be deciding who is moving out and who is staying in the house that the two of you shared — or if both parties will be moving to new homes. Many divorcing couples choose to sell the house that they shared, splitting the proceeds of the sale. But in some cases, especially those involving children, it may be both more economical and more practical for one person to stay in the house. If children are involved, this would typically be the custodial parent (if custody is not split completely evenly). Attorneys can help navigate the process of the house shifting to one person’s ownership, as well as how the proceeds of a sale will be split if the couple chooses to sell.

Many divorcing couples choose to sell their homes simply because there are a lot of complex emotions associated with the house and the memories created there. Additionally, it may be hard to maintain the expenses associated with your old home now that you are paying for it as a single person. There are a lot of maintenance costs, as well as general rent or mortgage payments, that are much easier to handle when split between two incomes. It may be more economical to move than it is to stay in the house that you lived in with your ex. If you have children, it’s often less disruptive to allow them to stay in the space with which they are familiar.

If you decide to move from your house, you need to make a plan with your ex early. Make sure that they are aware of when you are planning on moving, as well as when you will stop making your typical payments. Your payments may be folded in a changed manner into alimony or child support if you are making those payments.

How Should I Evaluate My Next Housing Option?

It’s important for you to consider whether to rent or buy when evaluating your next housing options. There are certainly advantages to buying. If you are permanently set up in one location, perhaps because you have children or long-term job commitments, buying may be something that you consider. Additionally, the conventional wisdom is that buying a house is actually less expensive than renting a house when you look at the big picture.

But at the same time, there are drawbacks to immediately shopping for a house to purchase versus a house to rent. Divorce is tumultuous and it can be difficult for you to predict your future while divorcing. You need to think about whether or not you may feel differently about where you’re living in a year or two. Renting a home, rather than buying one, can allow you some flexibility. Generally speaking, it’s advised that divorcing parents shouldn’t immediately jump into long-term financial commitments while in the early days of their divorces. Additionally, while renting may be more expensive in the long term, it allows you different options that could potentially be less expensive right now. The issue to consider is how much easier it is to find smaller housing options if you’re willing to rent. Many divorcing couples without children or non-custodial parents prefer to downsize significantly, perhaps moving into apartments rather than houses. Additionally, those who are renting rather than buying don’t have to seek bank financing, as 95% of all people seeking to buy houses represented by real estate agents must.

What Are Obstacles to the Moving Process?

There are obstacles to the moving process, which is why it takes some people longer to move out of their houses than others. One of the biggest reasons why people choose to live together for a longer period of time than is perhaps comfortable during a divorce is that they simply lack the ability to pay for new housing. Divorce is expensive and switching from two incomes to one, as previously mentioned, can be extremely challenging.

An issue with both seeking a rental home and a home to buy, too, is credit. About 30% of all Americans have bad credit. Even if you have money on-hand, you may not be approved to rent or buy a home. Many people may even damage their credit scores while divorcing, as they may fall behind on payments or accrue new debt.

Some people therefore essentially divide their homes as they begin divorcing while living together. It’s important to find a way to get along with your ex, while at the same time working towards moving into separate homes. Another option, of course, is to move in with family or friends while divorcing until you are able to move out on your own. A lot of people do that, and there is nothing wrong with it.

The point to focus on is the end goal. It may take a while to get there. But you can move out on your own after your divorce without creating undue disruption for your children.