Cohabitation during divorce: What to consider

You and your spouse have made the difficult decision to divorce – but your circumstances don’t make it easy for one of you to relocate immediately. Maybe you don’t have enough equity in the house to sell it right now, or maybe neither of you can afford the outrageous rentals in the area on your own. Maybe your children are very small and neither of you want to be separated from them until they’re a couple of years older.

Can you cohabitate as roommates even while you’re going through a divorce? In Connecticut, there’s no legal requirement for spouses to live separately and apart prior to obtaining a divorce, so that makes cohabitation a possibility. However, there are some things you need to consider, first:

Can you and your spouse make the emotional transition?

Living together as roommates is very different than being an actual couple. Both parties have to be willing to accept the emotional changes that go along with that. That means that both of you have to learn how to give the other party privacy.

Can you and your spouse establish separate spaces?

When you’re no longer a couple, you each need your own bedrooms – even if that’s a home office that you have to convert into a makeshift bedroom. Without a place of your own to which you can retreat, you and your spouse may find yourself uncomfortably close far too often.

Can you work out the financial and physical arrangements?

A household takes a lot of work to keep running, and even roommates have to agree on things like when exactly the utility money needs to be paid and what the rules are when it comes to feeding the dogs or leaving dishes in the sink. You may also need to work out a “time-sharing” agreement for common areas, like the kitchen or laundry, to reduce conflicts. Whatever agreements you make should be in writing to avoid any disputes.

Going through a divorce is seldom easy, but experienced legal guidance can help you better understand both your rights and your options.