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Explore General Legal Issues

Coping Tips for Living Under One Roof After a Divorce

by Ralph Griffin

You might not be surprised about the number of couples that don't want to stay married to each other but continue to live together. Couples that know it's over may stay married for various reasons, such as for the sake of the children or religious reasons. One thing that might surprise you, though, is how many couples do get divorced but continue to live together anyway. Read on to find out why this happens and how those couples cope with the situation.

It's Only Temporary — But Necessary

The first thing to understand about staying together after separation and divorce is that it's never going to become permanent. In most cases, couples do the cohabitation thing for a limited number of months or years. The main reason some couples take this uncommon action is due to the economic strain of maintaining separate households. Two can live cheaper than one when it comes to shared rents, mortgage payments, utilities, and more. Beyond that, take a look at the reasons why some couples live under the same roof after divorce:

  • The home is not ready to sell. While the couple might agree to sell the home, they might also need to wait a bit for the real estate market to pick up or for some big repairs to take place.
  • The couple has a child with special needs and requires constant help. One party can only afford to work if the other takes care of the children.
  • One party has a serious medical condition and cannot live alone.
  • The couple wants to co-parent their children and this is the most affordable way to do that.

If You Want to Cohabit, Follow These Tips

Couples that follow this non-traditional route want you to know that it is possible but things will work better if you follow these tips:

  • Approach it by putting things in writing. This allows you to better identify and work out potential pitfalls before they happen.
  • Make the plan contingent on ending at some point. That can be a certain year or a milestone. For example, you might want to plan to move apart when your youngest child goes off to college.
  • Address budget concerns early on. Don't just assume that things will be the same as when you were married.
  • The larger your home, the easier it will be to have some privacy. Ideally, one party will take over a basement, den, or extra bedroom while you share common areas like the kitchen.
  • Bringing home "guests" is sure to be a problem unless you agree on how to handle those overnight visitors ahead of time.

If you want to try things for yourself, speak to your divorce lawyer for more tips and advice on putting things in writing and how to handle custody, child support, and alimony issues.