From Spouse to Roommate: How to Live with Your Ex During a Divorce
The disposition of the house, and even more importantly, the mortgage, is a pivotal issue in almost every divorce. When couples that own a home decide to separate or divorce, they usually agree to either sell the house and divide up the equity or have one spouse buy out the other’s interest.
In an ideal world, the parties would arrive at a decision quickly, execute it seamlessly and go their own separate ways. Needless to say however, that is not always the case. As a result, it has become increasingly common for couples who are getting a divorce to continue living together “because of the house.” Even if the couple is able to agree on what to do with the home, they may run into other obstacles. For instance, the house may need repairs before it is listed or a spouse may struggle to refinance and effectuate a buyout. Some couples elect to maintain two separate households during this period. When this is not an option however, delays with the marital home may keep otherwise separated or divorced couples living together for months or even years.
Here are some pointers to make the transition from spouse to roommate a bit smoother:
1. Decide together how to share time with the children. If parents continue living in the house together during a divorce, it is important to establish rules with regard to sharing time with the children, getting them to activities, and paying for their expenses. Whenever possible, the parties should agree to maintain the status quo that existed prior to the breakup.
2. Make a fair agreement on how to share the household bills. These expenses are typically apportioned based on each party’s income. It is also important to discuss who is going to pay for needed repairs, especially if the marital residence is going to be sold.
3. Consult with professionals to make joint decisions regarding the sale of the home. Cooperation and good faith between divorcing couples are essential if the house is going to be listed for sale and shown to prospective buyers. The parties should find an experienced realtor whom they both feel comfortable working with.
4. Make every effort to “take the high road”. Therapy can be very helpful to purge or at least manage your anger. Focus on making compromises, reaching a fair deal and sticking to it. Of course, this is easier said than done, but self-restraint and dealing with your ex in a “business like” manner can go a long way.
To schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys or for further information, call us at LaMonaca Law, at (610) 892-3877