Couples who are legally separated may have decided that divorce is in their future. In some cases, a separation provides some space for each person to decide if they want to salvage the relationship. Regardless of why a couple separates, it doesn’t mean that they can’t continue to live in the same house during the separation period.
Each Person May Claim a Portion of the House During This Time
While a couple may not want to live together for the time being, it may be too expensive for each person to live on his or her own. Therefore, a couple may agree to occupy a specific portion of the home while continuing to contribute to joint bills. For instance, one person may get to live in the upstairs portion of the house while the other lives in the finished basement.
Make Sure to Create a Formal Lease
In the event that the house is in one person’s name, it may be a good idea to create a formal lease during the separation period if a couple chooses to live together. This ensures that both parties are contributing to the mortgage and other costs related to living in the house.
It is not uncommon for individuals to fail to live up to their obligations or live up to an informal agreement during what may be an emotional time in their lives. With a formal lease, the person who owns the home has the right to kick the other person out or pursue legal remedies if one or more terms of the agreement aren’t met.
Don’t Make Things Awkward for the Kids
If a couple has children, they should act in a civilized manner toward each other when in the presence of the kids. In the event that a parent is alone with the child, he or she should not badmouth the other parent or do anything to diminish or undermine that parent’s authority. For those who don’t get along, it may be best to avoid any interaction to avoid the urge to be snarky or otherwise belittle the other person.
It May Be a Good Idea to Run the Idea By a Judge
While it is generally acceptable for a couple to live together while getting a legal separation, it may be worthwhile to check with a judge to ensure that it is alright in your case. The last thing that you or your potentially former spouse want to do is drag out the divorce process any longer than necessary. Your attorney may also be able to help you determine if sharing a house would complicate the desire to legally separate before getting a divorce.
If you are going though the process of legally separating from your spouse or partner, you may be able to do so without actually leaving your home. Whether your name is on the mortgage or your partner has agreed to let you stay to defray housing costs, your goal is to either work through your issues or dissolve the relationship in a mature manner. This may allow you to remain friends with your former partner, which may be especially helpful if you have kids with that person.