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Together but Apart: Why Some Divorced Couples Continue Living Under the Same Roof

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It’s not uncommon for recently divorced couples to continue living together after the marriage ends. With soaring home prices and inflation on the rise, many find it challenging to live independently. If there are children involved, these divorced but cohabiting couples also share the task of parenting their children outside of their marriage. A recent New York Times article explores how concerns for the well-being of children and finances compel some ex-spouses to live together post-divorce.

The NYT article described some examples of divorced couples who decided to live “apart together” and how it helped them find common ground at home. One reason some ex-couples chose to stay together was due to financial necessity. The article profiles a recently divorced New York couple looking to sell one of their homes to cover the costs of renting a second apartment in the city. Then they realized the amount the house would sell for would still be insufficient to cover the cost of the new place. A report by HG.org, a legal resource website, found that many former couples have decided to live together in the short term, in hopes that the economy and the housing market will turn around, and they can then sell the home when the time is right.

Another common reason some divorced couples remain in the same household is to maintain a stable family environment for the children. In another example, an ex-couple had to choose between moving states or living together for their children’s sense of financial and emotional stability. Remaining under the same roof can benefit children, as they can spend time with both parents with little change to their existing routines. Last year, The Guardian reported that amid the pandemic’s uncertainties, couples looking to retain a stable home environment for their children practiced “divorce nesting,” a way of living that enables children to remain in the home with both parents. Some experts claim that although many couples will do this for the sake of their children, the children may find it confusing and may end up believing that their parents are still together, creating other issues.

The onset of the pandemic made it easier for divorced couples to decide to continue living together rather than move or find a new place during those times. The pandemic came with job losses and, with that, the loss of income. Leaving home was not an option for those who weren’t well prepared. Other couples who went through the divorce process during the pandemic stated they continued living together in hopes the unprecedented times could bring them closer before signing the divorce papers.

If you find yourself in this situation after your divorce, it’s important to create guidelines and establish boundaries between you and your former spouse. By setting ground rules, you can help alleviate the stress of figuring out who will be doing what and when. One survival tip offered by Divorcemag.com is to maintain respect for each other, especially around the children. Staying home together won’t be beneficial for the kids if the parents have no respect for each other and are arguing every day. It’s also a good idea to continue communicating with your former spouse, but you might want to keep it to a minimum. You don’t have to cut off daily communication, but it’s good to keep conversations short and friendly if you are recently divorced to avoid heated and unnecessary arguments.

At Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. in San Francisco, our divorce lawyers offer the skill and knowledge to handle even the most complex and contentious divorces to secure fair resolutions. If you’re seeking legal advice from an experienced divorce attorney, contact our office today to schedule a consultation.

by Debra Schoenberg

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