Harsh economic realities sometimes make it hard for divorcing couples to afford life on their own. After all, the cost of housing doesn’t go down simply because your income has been cut in half.
Should you consider sharing a home with your spouse while you’re going through a divorce — and even after? It depends.
Staying where you are can drastically reduce the overall cost of your divorce. Neither of you will have to find (and fund) a new place, pay for new utility hookups and buy new furniture. If you have young children, it can also make handling child care and parenting a lot easier.
However, living together when you’re ending your marriage can be emotionally difficult. It takes two very mature people and a significant amount of willingness to compromise to make it work. Some people just can’t move past their differences to focus on what makes sense financially or for the children.
If you decide to go this route, here are some tips:
Treat this like a business relationship. Talk to your spouse with the same level of civility you would if they were a business associate. Focus on the practical concerns and day-to-day matters — not your past.
Make a schedule. Sharing a home doesn’t mean sharing your space all of the time. You can create a schedule for the house’s common areas, like the living room and kitchen, that will give you both space and independence.
Draft some house rules. Who will pay for what? When are bills due? What are the rules regarding guests? Who is expected to care for the pets? Treat this like any discussion you’d have with a housemate, and don’t assume that the “old way” of doing things will continue.
There are a lot of difficult decisions you have to make when you’re getting a divorce. Make sure that you get a clear perspective and some sound legal guidance.