How realistic is living with a spouse during a divorce? A breakup brings emotional burnout and significantly affects the finances of each partner. Not being financially able to leave the family home is one reason for moving in together after divorce. Among other reasons, couples highlight the desire to spend as much time as possible with their children and the fear of losing their case if they leave.
Living Together During Divorce
Going through a divorce but still living together is not that unusual in the 21st century. Cohabitation during divorce is a smart choice for couples who need time to resolve their marriage-related issues and plan their future independence.
Living in the same house during a divorce has advantages and disadvantages. For example, during the divorce process, each parent will spend as much time with the child as before, without letting them feel abandoned. It also gives spouses time to sell and find a suitable new house.
Cohabitation before the divorce is final also has its drawbacks. If the breakup is due to the fault of one spouse or they can hardly stand each other, conflicts will inevitably arise due to routine matters. In this case, the partners living together during divorce proceedings should develop a “survival” plan.
There are also couples living together after divorce. The decision to live together is not always voluntary. Since a breakup takes time and money, not all parties have the opportunity to move out of the family nest immediately and fully support themselves.
What Experts Say
Susan Pease Gadoua, a licensed therapist, gave an excellent definition in 2007 of the phenomenon of divorced couples continuing to live together after a breakup. She called it “Parenting Marriage.”
“A Parenting Marriage is a marriage in which you and your spouse no longer have a romantic connection (so, according to our traditional love-based marriage model, you’d want to split up), but you choose to stay together to raise your children together.”
Shawn Leamon, a certified divorce financial analyst and MBA, explained cohabitation benefits for ex-spouses with children. In his opinion, this gives children a sense of normalcy, an example that even if both parties have disagreements, they can still “cooperate.”
“This method is an excellent way to practice models of civility for children. Then they will understand that two parties can work together, even though they disagree. This lesson provides the sense of togetherness that young children need to thrive.”
Bob Butterworth, chief executive officer and co-founder of divorce papers preparation service CompleteCase.com, supports the view that cohabitation during and after divorce can be effective for children and give spouses time to improve their financial situation.
“Children can gradually get used to the idea that their parents are no longer together. And their divorce does not mean that their parents no longer need [their children]. But this is provided that living together is not accompanied by constant insults and quarrels. Then cohabitation would become devastating for everyone, and children may develop a sense of guilt … To avoid possible pitfalls, the couple needs to create a familiar pattern of behavior in the house. ”
11 Survival Tips for Divorced Parents Living Together
If the spouses decide to live together during or after the divorce proceedings, they need to have a clear survival plan. By following simple and practical advice, partners will find it easier to coexist and deal with the consequences of divorce.
1. Talk with the Children
If a couple has children, then there comes a time when it is worth talking to them about the divorce. Do not try to hide the breakup because kids notice the slightest changes in their parents’ behavior. Depending on the age of the child, co-parents should choose a “language for conversation.” If a couple has infant children, explaining the separation of parents can take in the form of a fairy tale. But in this case, you should still be honest, because a lie can lead to a false hope of reunion and deep disappointment.
If the couple has older children who can understand the situation, they should not beat around the bush. In this case, the couple should talk like adults, explaining that their parents cannot be together anymore. But do not blame each other and go too deeply into the details of the grounds for divorce. There are things that children should not know.
2. Manage the Emotional Reactivity
Cohabitation with an ex-spouse can cause negative emotions that also negatively affect children. To keep a calm and clear head, spouses should devote more time to themselves and their hobbies, eat well and get enough sleep. Set personal boundaries, and don’t let your ex break them. If you feel that you cannot cope with your emotions or that something bothers you because of the consequences of the divorce, you can turn to a psychologist or psychotherapist for help.
It is okay to feel annoyed, frustrated or resentful when divorced spouses live together during or after the dissolution of a marriage. But overreacting to what is happening can make your cohabitation unbearable. And if a couple has children, it can be psychologically traumatic for them. Keeping and maintaining coolness will allow spouses to quickly regain their inner balance and provide a safe environment for them.
3. Spend Less Time with Each Other
It is practically impossible to live together and not communicate, but it is possible to minimize interaction with your spouse. For example, start sleeping in separate bedrooms or beds. Sharing one space with someone you dislike can negatively affect your sleep, which can exhaust your nervous system. The ideal option would be to live in different rooms, where each of the divorced spouses would have their territory.
4. Work Out Living Arrangements During Divorce
To make life easier for you and your ex-spouse, it is worth agreeing on shared living arrangements. Spouses should sit down and negotiate general obligations and rules of residence, such as using common things, walking the dog (if any), cooking meals, paying bills, etc. Such an agreement will allow the couple to avoid unnecessary conflicts and simplify their coexistence.
5. Make Financial Arrangements
Don’t neglect your financial agreements. It can be concluded through a lawyer or directly. The agreement may include a resolution for paying bills, debts and child custody during or after a divorce. It will help spouses organize their payments and budget without unnecessary stress.
6. Keep a Romantic Life out of the House.
Even if the spouses are already in the process of divorce, you should not go home with a new lover. It can make it difficult to break up and hurt children’s feelings, as they have not yet had time to get used to the idea that their parents will no longer be together.
7. Coordinate Parenting Time
A parenting schedule will help co-parents spend time with their children. The parent-caregiver on the appointed day will be able to understand how it is to take care of the child alone and devote their free time to the kid. To make it easier for the child to understand who is responsible for them today, the second parent should leave the house at an agreed-upon time. The care schedule can also describe things such as who drops off the child to school/extracurricular activities, visits to the doctor, vacations, etc.
8. All will End
As frustrated or upset as you are right now, remember that it’s always darkest before the sunrise. Slowly, your problems will be solved, and life will return to its usual course.
9. Respect Each Other
“The ex-spouse as a business partner” paradigm helps spouses interact with each other for their well-being. Thinking about your ex as a long-term partner can help you overcome your daily challenges, and you’ll focus more on what you’re doing and talk to each other.
10. Take Time for Yourself
Divorce affects the financial situation of every spouse, but you shouldn’t forget about taking care of yourself. Go to the gym, go to the movies or go shopping with your friends. It will allow you a break from the divorce proceedings and recharge your batteries with positive emotions.
11. Stay Home Less
Even if you and your ex-spouse have a reasonably friendly relationship, living together can be depressing. To avoid this, try to leave the house more often. It will give each of you more freedom and personal space.
The desire to live together even after a divorce is understandable. Cohabitation can cause some difficulties, but with perseverance and a plan, there is nothing you cannot overcome.