Divorced and Still Living Together
Going through a divorce is a complex process. There many reasons that couples decide to continue living together after separation or divorce.
Perhaps, there is uncertainty about the relationships or finances. Sometimes there is fear about speaking to your children and family. You may have concerns about “abandoning the home.”
Although it is stressful, many couples feel that physical separation is too expensive. It’s important to weigh your options, before making a decision. Spending habits often begin to change, regardless of your living situation.
If you have kids, it is important that they see you both act with respect for each other, and make them a priority.
When sharing a home after separation you will need an interim plan to fall back on while you figure things out.
Who uses the Master bedroom?
What happens when the other spouse doesn’t seem to respect boundaries?
How will you react if or when your former spouse begins dating or doesn’t come home in the evenings?
You longer live as husband and wife. Expectations and boundaries will change between you. Even with more amicable people, changes in family dynamics will create conflict.
When sharing a house and developing a plan, there are a few issues you will need to consider:
- Living arrangements and establishing personal spaces within the home;
- Redefining household chores and duties including cooking, shopping, dishes, laundry, cleaning the house;
- Contributing financially to the basic costs of running a household. This includes groceries, insurance, mortgage, utilities, taxes, child expenses, and many other expenses;
- Balancing significant differences in income;
- Parental responsibilities and when each parent will spend time with the children;
- What you will tell the children, family, and friends about your situation.
- What about conflict?
Sharing a home might make it difficult to refocus after a conflict. It can be hard to collect your thoughts if either spouse is re-engaging in conflict with another.
- Set clear boundaries around living together
- Give your ex-spouse appropriate physical space
- Schedule a weekly debrief with each other
Each spouse will have a few moments to lay out their needs, schedule, and expectations for the coming week.
If you are unable to communicate set up a message board where each spouse can leave messages for each other.
What happens if we can’t make it work?
If the emotions continue to intensify you may wish to consider a “nesting arrangement.”
In a nesting situation, each spouse alternates between who gets to stay in the home. This pattern rotates between the spouses allowing for physical separation and emotional breaks. If need be, the agreement can be revisited as needed.
If you plan to continue sharing a house after separation your boundaries will need to be clear. This way, both parties know what to expect from each other. When communication is mindful it creates a win-win resolution.
During mediation, our team at Fairway assists you to navigate difficult conversations. We work with you to create a workable interim plan, with a focus on the early stages of separation.
Contact us for a complimentary consultation.