In my opinion, sharing a household with someone you’re currently divorcing would be exceedingly challenging — but I’ve had many clients do it, sometimes successfully.
Usually two people choose to remain in the same housing arrangement through a divorce because of finances. If they can’t afford two separate residences, which of course come with two sets of living expenses, they may choose to continue living together. This may also be the case if the divorcing couple has children and they want to focus on keeping the impact on the children as minimal as possible.
Basically, the house will run the same way it did before, except Mom and Dad are usually sleeping in different bedrooms.
Both Parties Must Have Good Intent
In order for this living arrangement to work, both people must have pure intentions and honor the other person’s privacy and autonomy. I’ve seen couples in this situation get angry if one person learns the other is staying out late, suspecting them of going on a date.
I’ve also seen scenarios where one person won’t respect the privacy of the other and even reads communications from the other party’s divorce attorney. This will cause many issues.
However, if both parties can agree to a set of ground rules, and peacefully abide by those rules, I have seen it work out well for couples: they cut their living expenses in half, simplify life so that impact on the kids is minimized, and in some instances, I’ve even heard of families continuing to sit down and have meals together.
I must add to this rosy conversation that through the years of being a divorce attorney, I have seen this scenario go very, very badly. Emotions run high during divorce proceedings and it requires an exceptional level of self-awareness, self-control, and respect for others to successfully live with a partner you are divorcing.
In my opinion, very few people are capable of being that mature and reasonable.
Successfully Living Together During Divorce
If you and your spouse are choosing to live together through the divorce process, here are some general guidelines that may make things more tolerable. Be sure to talk to your attorney and share with him or her your situation before taking any action.
- Be respectful of the other person’s privacy. Snooping will only serve to alienate your spouse and potentially cause issues in Court. If you have any hope for an amicable divorce, give your spouse the privacy you would want for yourself.
- Decide together how the household will run. Now that you’re divorcing, you may need to set some new ground rules on who does what, and when, especially if you’re trying out a temporary parenting schedule.
- Have integrity and honor your word. Maintaining trust will be key if you hope to have an amicable divorce, or work with a mediator. Do what you said you would do, by when you said you would do it. Don’t lie or withhold important information.
- Get everything in writing. As I wrote about in my previous blog post, it’s really important to avoid he said/she said in the divorce. As much as possible, get agreements in writing (over email, text, etc.). You may be very grateful you did!
- Do not involve the children in the divorce. Many people try and manipulate the children during this time. Initially, if you get caught doing so, the Court will be highly critical of you. More importantly, you will likely cause severe emotional trauma to the children. They should never be forced to pick which parent to favor. Quite simply, your children are not getting divorced, and you should never involve the children in the divorce.
Hire an Experienced Attorney
If you are going through a divorce in Boulder County, let’s talk. Call our office today at 303-449-1873 to schedule a complimentary consultation and find out if Barre Sakol is the right representative for your case.