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Living with Your Spouse During the Divorce Process


Filing for divorce is only the first step. More often than not, the court will not tell you and your spouse to immediately settle to separate houses. For many couples, they would still need to have civil yet awkward moments in their shared home. 

Unless there are accusations or threats of violence and abuse, Texas will not require a couple with pending divorce to live separately. This is entirely left to the decision of each spouse, and there are pros and cons on both sides.

Advantages of Staying Together during Divorce

It is likely that won’t find it pleasant to live with your spouse, that’s why you are filing for divorce. However, it may have some benefits for both sides and also for the children. If you can still be civil together, it can soften the blow of divorce on the children. You can gradually separate instead of one parent suddenly packing up and moving out.

There are also financial advantages since you still stave off living expenses for the spouse who will move out. You can actually prepare for the added expense if you are the one who plans to leave. 

We should clarify that these advantages can only happen if you can remain civil with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. If you always end up fighting or even just tension between the two of you, then there really is no other choice but to go on separate ways.

Why it’s Better to Leave

There are lawyers and counselors who would advise you to move out as soon as you can, even if you are on speaking terms. The situation can get awkward to say the least, and the proceedings could take a long time. Aside from the length, the actual proceedings might turn ugly. If there are sudden revelations and confessions, both sides could get emotional. 

One reason to hesitate is that moving out could be interpreted as a concession of custody and property. While this is not set in stone, there are many decisions where the family home was awarded to the ex-spouse who chose to stay.

You can clarify this with the court through your lawyer by preparing a parenting plan or even seeking temporary orders. Here, you can clearly state that you are not abandoning your rights to the child and property; you just choose to move out to avoid any conflict or untoward incidents. The judge may even interpret this as a selfless sacrifice on your part.

It should always be noted that Texas law follows the principle of community property and as much as possible, they want to have an equitable division of property regardless of who stays and who leaves.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at timothy.hutton@austintexaslegal.com

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