Home » 5 Tips for Sharing a House While Divorcing

Mar 5, 2014

5 Tips for Sharing a House While Divorcing

Blog, Divorce and the Home

Divorce and the Home, getting divorcedGetting divorced will test the patience of even the most peace-loving people.  The test becomes even greater when two people, who are divorcing because they don’t get along, have to remain in the same household for a period of time.

As neutral attorney-mediators, we often recommend that people stay put until they have a clear picture of their financial future; a final agreement on their assets, debts and support payments.  This allows them both to move forward with more stability and confidence.

However, sometimes people have no choice but to stay in the same house because neither one can afford to move out until the house is sold.  This is true whether they hire attorney-mediators to handle their divorce or litigation attorneys to battle through the court.

Whatever the reason two divorcing people remain in the same household, this is one of the most difficult times during the divorce transition.   It can be like two prize fighters living in a boxing ring, trying every moment to deliver the best knockout punch.   Both people feel that they are living on edge with their anger and anxiety intensifying every day.  Even though each one may win a few rounds, the fight ends in a draw because they are both living a totally miserable and unhealthy life.

Here are 5 tips to avoid making your home a boxing ring if you have to live together during divorce:

  • Find your Corner – Each of you should have a room, usually a bedroom, that is your very own and you should each respect the privacy of the other’s space.  Make your “corner” a real refuge by adding comfortable furnishings, decorating it in your individual style and including good music, movies, books, etc.  Make it nice so you enjoy spending most of your time there.
  • Hire a Good Manager – Just like a prize fighter has a manager who fixes their wounds and makes sure they are hydrated, etc.; people going through divorce really need a good therapist.  Friends and family will hopefully provide the love and support you need but are very inclined to tell you only want you want to hear.  An expert therapist will tell you what you need to hear and offer you the best guidance for managing your anger and anxiety.
  • Dance Around your Opponent – Create a schedule that allocates separate meal times; buy your own food and reserve a place for it in the kitchen.   If you have children, make a schedule for when they have meals and activities with each of you.  Assign specific laundry days each week.  Divide chores such as cleaning and yard work that each person is expected to complete each week.   Reserve a block of 8 hours each weekend that each of you will have exclusive possession of the house for entertaining or simply enjoying yourself in peace and quiet.
  • Listen to the Referee – If you are wise enough to use an attorney-mediator to resolve your legal matters, you can also ask for their help in resolving differences you have during the time you are still in the same household.  Your attorney-mediator will help you decide how to allocate responsibility for expenses so that the mortgage and other bills are paid on time.  Although most of their time is better spent on dismantling your past and helping you build individually stable futures, they are definitely interested in making sure there isn’t an explosion that leads to a long, expensive divorce court battle.
  • Remember that the Final Bell will Ring – Although it may seem sometimes that this painful phase of the divorce transition will last forever, there will be an end to it.  Working with an attorney-mediator will get you there in a matter of months whereas a divorce litigation attorney will take much longer, perhaps years.  There is no doubt that the sooner you are in separate households, the better it is for everyone.  It is especially true when children are living in the household.

Hopefully, these 5 tips for living in the same household while getting divorced will be helpful.  If you have a tip that has worked for you or someone you know, please let us know so that we can share it with others.