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Real Talk: What It Means to Live with Your Ex After Divorce

It’s not the best idea to live together after a divorce, but most of the time, it’s the most reasonable setup. Sometimes, couples find themselves in the middle of a financial crisis, so moving out isn’t an option. Other times, former lovers want to be together for the sake of the kids, at least until they’re old enough to understand and handle the separation. This arrangement can be complicated in so many levels, but more so in the legal and emotional aspect. If you plan to live under the same roof after your divorce is finalized, you and your ex should both be on the same page on significant matters concerning the law and your emotions.

Legal Matters

Issues regarding alimony and child support will emerge when you do decide to remain together after divorce. For instance, the payments might be changed since the person who must pay is in the same home as the recipient and contributes to the household expenses. Usually, the court will order a reduction. But you will have to file a petition to secure that. Another legal issue that you should prepare for is filing taxes. Just because you live with your ex after divorce doesn’t mean you can treat your taxes the same way you did when you were still together. Consult your attorney to avoid legal violations. And while you’re at it, discuss the other financial implications of this living arrangement. If money problems were the most significant factor in your divorce, it could be the very thing that could break your “roommate relationship” later. So sit down with your spouse and family law attorney and discuss your financial duties. The ideal situation is to split the obligations 50-50. But if one partner will struggle, then the person taking the bigger portion of the burden will have this taken into account when the assets are split when you finally live separately.

Emotional Matters

 couple ignoring each other Living with your ex also involves emotional issues, of course. Typically, when you break up with someone, you cut ties with them so that you can heal and move forward more quickly. But in the living-together setup, it’s impossible or at least hard to do that. You practically see your ex every day, perhaps share a meal or two with them or bump into each other on the way to the bathroom. It will trigger a host of complicated feelings, from sadness and anger to frustration and unsurprisingly, love. You’re on an emotional roller coaster in this setup. What you should do then is to agree on boundaries. Schedule a time for use on common areas, like the kitchen or the living room. Be responsible for yourself, washing the dishes after eating or cleaning the bathroom sink after brushing your teeth. Ask permission if you can eat the food you didn’t buy. Most importantly, never take a new partner home. The bottom line is to respect each other. It’s not uncommon for divorced couples to stay together after the break-up. But just because it’s a norm doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy for you. There are legal and emotional issues ahead. As early as now, get yourself ready for them so that you can make this complicated setup work.
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