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How to Share Space with Your Soon to Be Ex Spouse

April 5, 2020

Logistical and financial reasons top the list for why a couple who is undergoing divorce or who has already completed the process, might agree to share a home. Especially when one or both of the parties employment situation has changed for the worse or neither party can afford to live on their own. Given the staggeringly high average home prices in the Denver Metro area that appear to be unfazed even by global events like COVID19, former couples face the very real prospect of sharing space for weeks or even months. 

Here are seven tips for same space survival with your soon to be ex-spouse: 

1) Designate Separate Space for Each Spouse

Draw boundaries within your home. Define your personal space and ask your spouse to honor it. Get to know your their personal space and extend them the same courtesy. This can head off potential arguments and just makes common sense. After all, you’re not sharing a bed anymore, so why would you continue to commingle your personal items?

2) Settle on a move out date

Remember this is not Logic 101. There will be no- if then statements like, “Joe will move out if and when he secures employment that pays x amount per month.” If there is no goal line, one or both of you may be reluctant to move out anytime soon. It may seem counterintuitive, after all, why would they want to share space when the relationship has deteriorated? Think about a nightmare roommate you’ve had. The same question applied to them. They may have had their own motivations to stay put or worse, no motivation at all, so a projected move out date can only serve to motivate them to keep their word. 

3) Whatever you do, don’t just act like nothing has changed

Even if you’ve always texted to ask what they want for dinner, refrain from hitting send.  Start sweating the small stuff. For example, without noticing it, you are still ending sentences with “honey” after so many years together. Slow down and be deliberate with your actions and words. 

4) Put your agreement in writing

Treat your new arrangement as you would a roommate and create an agreement for both parties to sign. Cover payment of the mortgage, maintenance tasks and if one person has done the bulk of the household duties, specify what each person will be doing going forward. Otherwise someone will continue to wash, dry and fold clothes for the other and there may be bleach and shrinkage of fabrics and resentment. If it is important, it goes in the agreement. 

5) Make a list of the reasons to divorce

Say the above suggestions work beautifully and you and your soon to be ex are getting along swimmingly. You start to become muddled on why you wanted to divorce in the first place. Be clear about your reasons why you want a divorce and make sure to write them down. You can refer back in the moments where nostalgia clouds your judgment. 

6) Talk about how you plan to discuss the situation

Set boundaries, set a time and if you have children in the home, a private place to talk.  Take turns speaking and if emotions escalate, take a time out. We’re not that different from 3rd graders when it comes down to it. If the topic of discussion is of grave importance, write down what you agree on and what you have not come to an agreement about. Agree to end a conversation after a certain time limit and stay on one topic. Propose more than one solution and remain open to new ways to solve the disagreement.  

7) Direct Divorce Discussions to Your Mediator

We suggest that divorce discussions not take place at this stressful time and while confined to the house.  There is a better time and place to get into divorce discussions. If there are children involved, consider implementing a child centered pledge.

During times of financial insecurity, more ex couples consider the prospect of co-habitating until they’re both able to transition. We hope you find these suggestions helpful if you or someone you know will be living with an ex.

The Divorce Resource Centre of Colorado team works with clients to prepare them financially and emotionally toward a peaceful solution for both parties. Give them a call at (303) 468-5626 or go online to schedule your 20 minute phone or Zoom call with one of our divorce professionals. 

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At Divorce Resource Centre of Colorado, we have a team of seasoned Certified Divorce Financial Analysts (CDFA) who provide a cost-effective, respectful mediation process that allows couples and families to rebuild a secure post-divorce future.
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