How to Live in Same House While Getting a Divorce

by Mitch Reid

Divorce isn't a pretty picture, but it's a reality for about 40 to 50 percent of marriages in the U.S., according the American Psychological Association. A sudden split can lead to an awkward living situation, especially if you need to temporarily stick together for financial reasons. Just because you're living together during the break-up doesn't mean that you and your ex are doomed to a miserable cohabitation. Some considerations regarding the way you interact and divide responsibilities can help keep things relatively clean.

Set Financial Responsibilities

Money can become a headache and even draw you into a legal battle, so make an early agreement on financial obligations, suggests matrimonial law attorney [Bari Zell Weinberger]( in her Huffington Post article, "House Rules: 5 Tips to Being Divorced and Still Living Together." For example, if one of you pulls in more income than the other, you can make arrangements for the higher earner to pay a larger portion of the rent while the other person can arrange to give up a corresponding amount when it's time to divide the assets after the divorce. Negotiate until you reach a fair deal, and **keep agreements in writing**, involving a divorce attorney if necessary.

Lines in the Sand

Aside from financial obligations, it's best to keep your material possessions to yourselves, suggests divorce attorney [Charles Hofheimer]( in the HG article "A Judge’s Eye View on In-Home Separation and Divorce." For example, avoid buying and splitting groceries, if possible, and avoid buying gifts or anything that might cause arguments later regarding legal possession. Similarly, avoid using any item that belongs to your ex, such as computers or credit cards.

Squash Romance

With the sudden lack of physical comfort, it can be tough to keep your hands off your ex. However, letting go of the idea of your ex providing those physical comforts is imperative to a clean break. Pairing up again is unfair, suggests Weinberger, and it has the potential to lead to drama later on. On the other hand, Bali also suggests keeping any new romantic partners under wraps. Bringing home a new partner can humiliate your ex and lead to emotional flare-ups. Instead, if you're seeing someone new, **meet with your new romantic interest outside of the house**, out of view of your ex.

Communication Rules

You are both probably feeling very emotional, so take special care when having debates. For example, if an argument occurs, **agree to avoid contact for a day**, suggests Judge Michele F. Lowrance in the MSNBC article, "Chained to your ex? How to live together after a divorce." This will give you both a chance to get your emotions under control and consider a reasonable solution to the disagreement. If you don't call for a "timeout" before emotions boil over, you risk cultivating resentment, which can prove disastrous for your living environment.

About the Author

Mitch Reid has been a writer since 2006. He holds a fine arts degree in creative writing, but has a persistent interest in social psychology. He loves train travel, writing fiction, and leaping out of planes. His written work has appeared on sites such as and GlobalPost, and he has served as an editor for ebook publisher Crescent Moon Press, as well as academic literary journals.

Photo Credits

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