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Can Divorcing Parties in Idaho Live Together During the Divorce?

Posted by Bradley V. Sneed | Feb 15, 2024 | 0 Comments


Potential clients often contact Sneed Law, PLLC about divorce when they are still living in the same residence with their spouse.  These clients frequently ask “which one of us has to move out, once the divorce is filed?”  The answer is neither party is required to leave the mutual residence, so long as the parties can keep the peace while living under the same roof.   Unlike many other states, there is no law in Idaho that spouses must be living separately for any period of time before they may file for divorce.  Therefore, a married couple may choose to live together during a divorce, if they believe they can make it work.

Some reasons parties choose to remain in the same residence during divorce include wanting to maintain continuity for the child/children, keep up appearances to friends and family, and/or conserve the joint financial resources.  There is no doubt that if parties separate, their joint cost of living will increase nearly two-fold during the divorce, i.e., two monthly rent/mortgage payments, two of every utility bill each month, etc.     

What is “right” for you and your spouse is going to depend on many variables.   Obviously, if you believe your divorce will be contentious, then living together for many months while the case proceeds, likely will not be an option.  Of course, the financial reality of doubling your joint expenses each month may be the driving factor that requires parties to set aside their quarrels in order to conserve resources.   Remember, you and your spouse will also be tapping into community resources to pay your respective attorneys.      

If you are contemplating living together during your divorce, then you should attempt to arrive at an agreement with your spouse and plan out how living arrangements, bills, and other responsibilities are going to be handled.  If you and your spouse have different work schedules, then maybe you can avoid one another most of the time.  Perhaps you can agree to segregate parts of the residence to give each party some “private” space of their own.  You cannot plan for every contingency that may occur, but talking about and trying to reach an agreement, can be helpful in avoiding conflict.  On the other hand, if you try to talk to your spouse about a plan for living together through the divorce and he/she will not engage in such discussions, then you may have your answer about whether you and your spouse will be able to cohabitate during the divorce.         

Even if you have an agreement or plan with your spouse, things can change rapidly.   Therefore, you should consider the possibility that you may need to leave the joint residence.   Think about what that might look like and what that may require of you, if it suddenly becomes necessary to move out and live separately.  This planning needs to occur for both parties regardless of how amicable things seem to be, because eventually one (or both of you if the house is ordered to be sold) of you will be moving to a new residence.  

If you try to live together through the divorce, attempt to establish boundaries that reflect the changed nature of your relationship.  You may still be legally married and living in the same residence, but that does not mean it is “business as usual.”  In general, it is likely best to keep interaction and in-person communication to a minimum.  There will be times when you have to communicate with one another (“did you pay the water bill?” “what time is Billy getting home from soccer practice?”), but keep communication reserved for necessary topics.  

Do not discuss the ongoing divorce, do not try to negotiate a resolution directly with your spouse, do not discuss child custody issues, and do not discuss your personal life or any new relationships. All of these (and similar topics) will undoubtedly lead to an argument.  The last thing you want to do is argue about your divorce/children in front of the children.  No matter where you are in the residence and how much you try to keep it from your child/ren, they will be aware their parents are arguing.    

Above everything else to be taken into account, you must consider whether you and your spouse are going to be able to keep your respective emotions calm while cohabitating.  You have to remain civil and not raise your voice. This is why it is best to avoid communications that are not absolutely necessary.  If it feels like an argument is escalating and may get out of control, remove yourself from the situation for a while.  Leave the house and go for a walk.  You do not want the police called and one spouse or both being charged with a crime.  A domestic violence incident in the middle of your divorce can have far-reaching consequences to your personal freedom, financial resources, and child custody.    

Bradley V. Sneed of Sneed Law, PLLC represents divorce clients addressing these issues every day.   While there is not a single right answer and there is no simple solution for the issues outlined in this article, Sneed Law, PLLC is available to help you analyze your options and get you through the divorce process as quickly and inexpensively as possible.

Whatever you decide is best for your individual situation, remain mindful that your emotional peace and stability are far more valuable than trying to save money by living together during a contentious divorce.

About the Author

Bradley V. Sneed

Brad represents clients in family law (divorce, child custody/support modifications, guardianships), employment disputes (employers and employees), construction disputes, and insurance coverage dispute litigation.  If you find yourself faced with the need for legal guidance in any of these fields, contact Brad so he can take all steps necessary to protect you.


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