Is Living Together During Divorce in Texas Allowed?
Divorces are often unexpected and can leave both parties in unsure financial situations. Moving to a new apartment or house can take time and resources that you may not have readily at your disposal. Can you continue to cohabitate with your spouse during the divorce process? Should you do so? Can you live together while getting a divorce in Texas? A qualified Houston divorce lawyer can help you determine the best approach to your living situation during a Texas divorce in Harris County.
Moving out Is Not Necessarily Required, but It May Be the Best Option
There is no Texas law that requires parties to live apart during divorce proceedings. There are reasons why it may seem positive to remain living together during divorce proceedings. It can create an additional financial burden to move into a new apartment or house. If you have children, it can ease the transition for them if the parents continue to reside together even after deciding to divorce. Living together can give you and your spouse the time to figure out where the moving spouse will live, save you money, and give you time to determine how your parenting arrangement will work. Co-parenting arrangements with ex-spouses can be difficult enough emotionally for all parties involved, and anything that mitigates that difficulty can be helpful.
On the other hand, living with your spouse during your divorce can create additional problems. Divorces can take months. Emotions are likely to run high, which can lead to fights or other disputes that can harm your emotional state and further delay the settlement process. These fights can be worse for your children to witness than if you just separated at the outset. Also, if either party starts a new romantic relationship, that can lead to additional emotional complications and harm the divorce process; living together can prevent you from beginning to move on.
Child Custody and Possessions
Before you move out of the house, there are some things you should do to protect your interests. You will want to either jointly prepare a parenting plan with your spouse or, if you cannot agree, get a temporary court order establishing the arrangement to avoid appearing like you are abandoning your children. You can also begin the process of determining what property will go to which spouse before household items start disappearing.
As for property, to dispel a rumor: moving out of your home does not automatically mean that your spouse will get the house in the divorce. Marital property will be split equally, or according to a prenuptial agreement. Often this will mean selling the house and diving the sale proceeds, although if children are involved, this is less likely. If there are children involved, it is common for the parent with primary custody to keep the kids at the house and to compensate the other spouse with an equal amount of monetary value in other possessions.
In What Circumstances Should You Definitely Move out of the House?
If your marriage involved domestic violence or abuse, then it is imperative that you move out of the house as soon as possible and take your children with you, or seek an emergency court order that can force the abuser to move out. Get in touch with a Texas divorce lawyer as quickly as you can to ensure that your move does not adversely affect your ultimate financial or child custody award resulting from the divorce, and to ensure that your assets are protected.