One of the worst (and most common) mistakes guys make during divorce is moving out of the marital home. Joe Cordell even listed it No. 1 in his book “The 10 Stupidest Mistakes Men Make When Facing Divorce.”
By leaving the home you are giving your wife a huge leg up when it comes to determining custody of the kids and potentially doubling your living expenses.
The reason so many men make this often disastrous mistake is that the alternative doesn’t sound at all attractive either. Staying in the home means living in the same household as the person who you are divorcing. There is a good chance you’ve gotten your fill of arguments with her over the past few months and the environment in the home probably isn’t very pleasant.
It can take months, and sometimes even more than a year, for a divorce to finalize. So what can you do to keep your home from becoming a constant battlefield?
At this point, there are probably some hurt feelings between you and your ex. But for both of your sake, you need to find a way to avoid constantly arguing, especially if children are in the house considering the harmful effect parental conflict can have on them.
Try to sit down and have a mature conversation. Come to terms with the fact that you’re not going to agree on everything and you’re better off agreeing to leave each other alone rather than constantly bickering.
For your part, try to be overly courteous and respectful. Realize that nobody wins by playing the blame game.
One of the best ways to avoid conflict is by simply respecting each other’s personal space.
Designate parts of the home that belong to each spouse. Maybe you allow her to take the den as a workspace if she agrees to let you decompress in the living room. If your house has separate bathrooms, then split those between you.
This will give you each space to retreat to so you can gather your thoughts and stay out of the other’s way.
Set a budget
Finances are one of the biggest points of conflict in many divorces and it is common for guys to think their wife is trying to snag as much of their money as she can.
To allay these suspicions, come up with a budget that accounts for all the household spending the two of you will share. The budget needs to clearly state who pays what, separate names from joint accounts, and be transparent about any and all pending.
Base the budget on last year’s expenses including mortgage, utilities, taxes, groceries, etc. Track all spending and review the numbers frequently to ensure neither of you are getting off track.
Split parenting duties
Once your divorce is final, you and your ex will have to come up with a parenting plan that dictates who has the kids and when. You can begin easing them into this transition while you are still living together.
Divide days of the week that will belong exclusively to you or your spouse and allocate as many parenting duties as possible to that parent.
For example, if your day is Monday then it’s up to you to get the kids ready for school, pick them up, help them with homework, tuck them in, etc.