Apr 12, 2020
How to Share a House during a Divorce
Getting divorced tests the patience of even the most peace-loving person, so sharing a house during this time can push anyone over the edge. Living in the same house after making such a final decision can be overwhelming.
Practical and Financial Reasons to Share Living Arrangements
As neutral attorney-mediators, we often recommend that couples stay put until they have a clear picture of their financial future. Don’t make a big move until there is a final agreement on 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. Whatever the reason two divorcing people decide to remain in the same household, it’s a difficult time. It’s like two prizefighters in a boxing ring, each looking for the best knockout punch. Both people feel that they’re living on the edge — anger and anxiety intensifying every day. Even though each may win a few rounds, it’s a draw because they are miserable.
The Rules of Engagement
Here are some suggestions to avoid making your home a boxing ring if you have to live together while divorcing:
Find your Corner – Choose a bedroom that is your own and respect the privacy of the other’s space. Make your “corner” a real refuge by adding comfortable furnishings, decorating it in your own style, including good music, movies, books, etc. Create a space you enjoy spending time in.
Hire a Good Manager – Just like a prize fighter has a manager who tends to their injuries, makes sure they are hydrated, etc., people going through divorce really need a good manager – a therapist. Friends and family can offer the love and support you need, but will tell you only what want you want to hear. An expert therapist will tell you what you need to hear and help find ways to manage your anger and anxiety.
Dance Around your Opponent – Schedule separate mealtimes, buy your own food, store it in a specific place in the kitchen. If you have children, schedule their meals and activities with each of you. Assign laundry days per person each week. Divide chores, assign cleaning and yard work. On weekends, reserve a block of 8 hours for each person to have ‘alone time’ to entertain or simply enjoy peace and quiet.
Listen to the Referee – If you are wise enough to use an attorney-mediator to resolve your legal matters, ask for their help to resolve differences while sharing the house. Your attorney-mediator can help — making sure there isn’t an explosion that leads to a long, expensive divorce court battle.
Remember – the Final Bell will Ring– Although it seems that this phase of your divorce transition will last forever, there will be an end. Working with an attorney-mediator will get you there in a matter of months instead of the years for divorce litigation. 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 suggestions 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.
For additional information, read Legal Consequences of Living in the Same house while Getting a Divorce