Divorce brings about a host of financial, physical and emotional challenges for both parties, and the change in circumstances can also result in homelessness for many people.
Though studies have shown that women are more likely than men to lose homeownership after a divorce, there are men who are also experiencing the challenges of temporarily being without a roof over their heads, as they are more likely to move out once talks about divorce begin.
Being without a home – even for a brief period – can be disheartening, especially when your family is in the process of breaking up. However, you can get back on your feet and deal with this setback if you plan ahead and keep communication lines open with your ex. Here’s how you can cope with temporary homelessness after a divorce.
Coping With Temporary Homelessness After Divorce
Stay in a different room at home
Before making any rash decisions, it’s best to talk things over with your ex first so you can figure out who’s going to live in the house or if it would be better to just put it on the market. If the split is amicable, perhaps you can create a different living arrangement that would enable both of you to stay in the property while giving each other some much-needed space. If you think that this arrangement wouldn’t work, think back to Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner’s split in 2015.
It can be recalled that the actor stayed in the guest house of their family home while the “Alias” actress stayed in their house with their children, and the two figured out a way to end their marriage in a healthy way while being in close proximity with each other. Consider staying in different rooms for now while you figure out the next steps in your separation, but don’t forget to actively look for a new place so you can be secure once you’ve reached a decision about your living situation.
Go to an emergency shelter
If the situation calls for you to leave your home right away, then pack up your things and go if that’s what it takes to stay safe or to keep the peace. If it’s the middle of the night and you have nowhere to go, consider going to an emergency shelter. Depending on where you go, some places will offer you a bed so you can rest for the night, while others will provide that as well as basic necessities such as clothing, meals and toiletries. Some shelters can even provide you with free housing for 15 to 30 days, and you may be able to stay longer as long as you show proof that you’re actively searching for a job.
As a last resort, you may consider spending the night in your vehicle, but be aware that you may be exposed to the dangers of sleeping out in the open. It’s unsafe to sleep in your car if you’re parked in a dangerous area or if the weather condition is particularly harsh. Moreover, sleeping with the AC on and your engine running could be dangerous to your health. If you have no other choice but to spend the night in your car, park at an overnight rest stop, lock your doors, and turn the engine off. The next day, contact your relatives and friends and see if you can find a place where you can stay for the time being.
Look for a cheap rental
If staying with a friend or a family member isn’t possible, then the best thing to do is to look for a cheap rental. As staying at a hotel or motel can be costly, see if you can find someone who’s renting out a bed or a spare room within your area so you can stay in touch with your ex and children while you work through your divorce.
You can also rent an RV and park at a local campground, rent a room at the YMCA, or rent a small studio apartment if your funds can cover the cost. The idea is to minimize living costs for now, as you’ll have to have your finances in order while you’re working through your divorce.
Being temporarily homeless can be tough while you’re going through a divorce. However, don’t let it stop you from finding solutions so you can get back on your feet and find a permanent home where you can live a peaceful life after the end of your marriage.
Jess Walter is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets.