Living together while going through a divorce can be challenging. Sometimes spouses choose to continue to live together to reduce the expenses of having separate households. However, there are some concerns that continuing to live together is going to result in increased conflict, or anxiety, or stress for the children. Coming up with a pros and cons list and weighing each of the pros and cons can be a way to address this question.
Pros and Cons of Continuing to Live Together While Divorcing
Pro: Living together saves a significant amount of family cashflow each month while the case is pending.
Con: If it’s going to stress out or cause a significant amount of anxiety for the children or either of the parties, then it’s a cost benefit analysis as to whether the cost savings outweighs the stress and anxiety.
Con: Continuing to live together doesn’t give the family time to try out the possession schedule and make tweaks to the schedule before the final order is entered. One thing that I like about having a possession schedule and separate households while the case is pending is that we can try out the schedule and see how the kids do and how the family does. If we notice that we need to make some tweaks to the schedule, we can do that much more easily while the case is pending than after the decree is entered.
Con: If families continue to live together while the case is pending then they typically don’t have an understanding of what their long term financial situation is going to be. While it’s an increase in cost, having separate space reduces stress for the family and allows both spouses to gain and understanding of their post-divorce finances.
Using the Collaborative Divorce Process while still living togetherIn the collaborative divorce process, we direct the clients to not have any offline discussions unless they are in a safe, neutral space. If you’re under the same roof, one party or the other may want to have more offline discussions without the support of the Collaborative team and that could be difficult for the other party. If the other party is not prepared to engage in the discussion being under the same roof makes it more difficult to escape that offline discussion. However, I have seen an increasing trend in the last few years of more and more people living under the same roof successfully while the case is pending.
For some high conflict families in the collaborative process, living under the same roof and continuing to have that conflict can make the process more difficult. In a case where there is still high conflict but the clients aren’t directing it at each other and are able to keep the peace under the same roof, then it can be helpful to the process, mainly because living together saves community resources.
A lot more divorcing couples are choosing to continue to live together during the divorce process than they were 10 years ago. I think it’s mostly for the cost savings.
Weighing the Pros and Cons of continuing to live together while the divorce case is pending is something that the couple must do if they are considering staying in the same house during the divorce. As a collaborative divorce attorney, I would be nervous that the cons tend to outweigh the pros. But financial considerations many times also carry a lot of weight in that decision. Ultimately, it is the parties’ decision.