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Traditionally, when a couple decides to end their marriage, one of the first steps is for one or both spouses to find a new place to live. However, there are reasons why a couple may continue to live under the same roof even after deciding to divorce. Among other things, setting up another residence requires more money despite the household income probably remaining the same, and it also allows children to remain in their home while they adjust to their parents' divorce.
If you and your spouse want to continue cohabitating while your divorce is pending, you must make sure that is allowed in your state. In most states, divorcing couples are allowed to live together. In those states, if a separation date is required for the paperwork, you use the date that one or both of you decided to end the marriage. However, 11 states either don't allow divorcing couples to live together at all or, at a minimum, set limitations on how the parties may cohabitate during divorce.
|State||Can we keep living together?|
|Alabama||No. Your divorce Complaint must state the date that you and your spouse stopped living together.|
|Arkansas||No. For a no-fault divorce, the spouses must live at separate households and not have sexual relations for 18 months to get divorced.|
|Delaware||Yes, as long as you sleep in separate bedrooms and have stopped having sexual relations with each other.|
|District of Columbia||Yes|
|Georgia||Yes, as long as you no longer have sex and are no longer a couple.|
|Illinois||No. You must live separate and apart for six months before the divorce can be finalized. The separation period can begin before the divorce is filed and attempts to reconcile by cohabitating will not stop the six-month separation period from running.|
|Kentucky||Yes, as long as you sleep in different beds and do not have sex for 60 days before the divorce is finalized.|
|Louisiana||No. Spouses cannot live together. For Article 102 divorce, the spouses must live at separate residences for 180 days (365 days w/children) after the non-filing spouse signs the Waiver of Service. For Article 103 divorce, the 180 day (365-day w/children) separation requirement must be met before you file for divorce.|
|Maryland||It depends on the grounds. The no-fault grounds of voluntary separation and the fault grounds of desertion, constructive desertion, and conviction of a felony, require spouses to live at different households without having sexual relations for 365 days. The grounds of adultery and cruelty of treatment or excessively vicious conduct do not have a minimum separation requirement.|
|Ohio||Generally, no. Many counties will not grant a dissolution/divorce unless the spouses have been living at different addresses since the file date. In other counties, you must live at different addresses for at least 30 days before the divorce hearing.|
|South Carolina||No. You must live separate and apart without sexual relations for a period of one (1) year before filing for divorce.|
|Vermont||Yes, but you must sleep in separate beds and live as though the marriage is over for at least 180 days before the divorce can be finalized.|
|Virginia||No. You must live separate and apart for 180 days/365 days if you have minor children together before the divorce can be finalized. You can file for divorce before you have met the separation requirement.|
In Maryland, you can get divorced while still living together if you have no minor children and qualify for the mutual consent grounds--i.e. have a signed settlement agreement and can both go to the divorce hearing. Maryland filers with minor children either have to live apart for a year or file under one of the other grounds available in the state. In Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky and Vermont divorcing couples may live under the same roof as long as they don't have a sexual relationship or carry as a couple would.
In Alabama, North Carolina, and Ohio spouses must live at separate residences to get a divorce. Some counties in Ohio require the couple to live apart for 30 days before the hearing to finalize the divorce. In Louisiana and Virginia, the couple must live apart for a full six months before getting divorced, and that separation period increases to one year if the couple has minor children together. Arguably, the most restrictive state is Arkansas, where no-fault divorce requires the couple to spend 18 months living at separate residences and not having sex before getting divorced.