Ex-spouses (and those who will soon be ex-spouses) continue to live together all the time, for a variety of reasons. Maybe you and your spouse need to share a living space for financial reasons even while you’re in the process of divorce.
Maybe neither of you is willing to leave the family home because you’re both afraid that it will put you at a disadvantage when it comes time to decide custody issues or the division of the marital property. Maybe you’re trying a “birdnesting” approach to co-parenting. Whatever the reason, you need to establish some ground rules to make it work.
It’s all about communication and boundaries
The most important thing you can do is make sure that you and your ex both understand what is and is not allowed. That means talking about your expectations and agreeing to boundaries. Here are some things to discuss:
- How will the household expenses be divided? Who will pay which bills?
- How will household chores be divided? What chores will both parties need to share?
- What are the rules on bringing home friends? Are there limits on certain times or days? Are overnight (non-romantic) guests acceptable?
- How will you divide use of the kitchen? Are there any rules when it comes to “borrowing” milk or bread from the other party?
- What about other common areas, like the living room or dining room? Do you need a formal schedule of use or will it be a “first come, first claimed” system?
It may help to think of each other as “housemates,” rather than ex-spouses when you have this discussion. That can create a different perspective and help you work out some rules.