Weather Alert  

COASTAL FLOOD ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 2 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 6 PM EDT THIS EVENING CCA * WHAT...Up to one foot of inundation above ground level expected in vulnerable areas near the waterfront and shoreline. * WHERE...In Connecticut, Southern Fairfield, Southern New London, Southern New Haven and Southern Middlesex Counties. In New York, Bronx, Southern Westchester, Northern Nassau, Northern Queens and Northwest Suffolk Counties. * WHEN...From 2 PM this afternoon to 6 PM EDT this evening. * IMPACTS...Minor flooding is expected in the more vulnerable locations near the waterfront and shoreline. Some roads and low lying properties including parking lots, parks, lawns, and homes and businesses with basements near the waterfront will experience minor flooding. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Wave action along the north shore of Long Island and runoff from heavy rain may exacerbate coastal flooding in some areas.

Five Pitfalls of "Divorced and Living in the Same House"

Why have they done this? Will they overcome the pitfalls? Will this choice be good for the children?

Print Email

Photo by: stevepb

Long Island, NY - October 18, 2018 - Is this a new divorce trend? In the last two months, at our divorce mediation center, the Long Island Center for Divorce Mediation, six different couples have elected to do more than share legal and residential custody of their children. They have decided to divorce and yet continue to live in the same house.
Why have they done this? Will they overcome the pitfalls? Will this choice be good for the children? Let’s explore:
All four couples have much in common that led them to the ‘living in the same house after divorce’ decision. 
  • They all have children still living at home.
  • None of the Spouses want to move into apartments or separate houses and lose daily contact with their children – their family. They don’t want to feel alone or too separate.
  • Each of these Spouses say they will feel extreme resentment if they have to leave the house, pay child and spousal support, and see their children infrequently.
  • None of these Spouses have become seriously involved with another during the marriage.
  • Because of their level of conflict and resentment during the marriage, each Spouse has become more focused on the children than on one another.
  • They each take Co-Parenting very seriously and want to be close to their children.
  • Each couple has moved into a good but expensive school districtfor the sake of their children and want to stay there.
  • They can only marginally afford to live in their chosen school district.
  • They cannot afford to establish two independent households in the same school district.
  • Mostly they can talk to each other about the children without getting into old marital patterns of hostility and frustration.
These couples are hopeful that the living together arrangement will work out, but there are obvious pitfalls. Let’s look at some case examples, and then examine the pitfalls and how to get around them.
Couple 1: Already Living Separately in the House for a Year - Couple 1 has been living separately within the house for a year beforestarting divorce mediation. The father has a bedroom and den down in the walk-out basement. The mother lives on the main floor. When the children come home from school, they go down to dad, who works at home, to do their homework and have a snack. They staywith dad until mom comes home and calls everyone for dinner. Dad eats with the family but makes his own meals most of the time. Holidays are spent together as one big family. No child support is paid. Instead, the Couple shares the bills according to their income.
Couple 2: Dad is House-Husband – The father stopped working when the son was born and became the house-husband (except for a 10-hour per week at home job). Now this Couple is divorcing through mediation. They have decided on living together after divorce. Their reasoning is as follows: the mother, a very high earner, works very long hours in the city and gets home late. She only sees her son on the weekends. If the husband gets residential custody, he does not have enough money, even with spousal and child support, to pay for a nice place for him and his son in their chosen school district.They both want to maintain their son’s current lifestyle. Thus, Couple is going to continue living together.
Case 3: Mother is Disabled – The mother has a debilitating illness, making it impossible for her to work. Two children are over 21, thus beyond the age of child custody and support. The third child is 16. Neither parent wants to uproot the 16-year old. This Couple has decided to share the house until their youngest goes off to college. The husband will continue to pay all bills, including the wife’s healthcare. Once the youngest goes off to college, the Couple will sell the house and go their separate ways.
Now let’s examine 5 key Pitfalls of ‘Living In the Same House After Divorce’ and how to get around them.
Pitfall 1: Children Adversely Affected By Parental Conflict - Children could be adversely affected emotionally, behaviorally and socially if the Parents, living in same house,continue their struggles that led to divorce in the first place.
Solution – The solution is to learn to effectively Co-Parent the Children. This means that the Couple must learn to step back from their frustration, anger and hurts. They must learn to respect each other and put aside their difficulties, especially in front of the children. They must learn not to put the children in the middle of their own problems with each other. We recommend and offer professional Co-Parenting help as needed. Please read our article:
Pitfall 2: Couple Continuing Money Struggles–Our Couples ‘living in same house after divorce’ have all decided to continue the way they have always divided the money and paid the bills – until they end their ‘living in same house’ arrangement. Since some of them had money problems during the divorce, these problems could continue.
Solution –Each Couple needs to create ‘money boundaries’. This can be done by creating a budget, so that each knows how much they need to contribute to the common pot and how much they can keep for themselves. They both need to check on this budget on a weekly basis so that the Spouse who has been less conscious about the spending of money becomes more aware. Our Couples going through this process have all decided to put a percentage of money into the common pot depending on their income – to pay household bills.
Pitfall 3:Lack of Boundaries in Living Arrangements – Living in same house after divorce is very different from living together during marriage.One of the male Spousesin our divorce mediation practice expected his soon-to-be-ex-wife to continue to make him dinner, clean the house and wash his clothes. During the mediation sessions, the wife was enraged at the idea.
Solution –The Couples ‘living in the same house after divorce’ need to learn totreat each other like roommates. They need to start over again and consciously define their living arrangements and expectations of each other. They need to decide together who does what when. New roles need to evolve.
Pitfall 4: Lack of Boundaries Regarding Outside Relationships – The danger here is that either ex-Spouse, living in the same house, will disrespect the other by bringing an outside relationship into the house, without prior decisions about boundaries and appropriateness.
Solution – The ex-Spouses need to come to clear agreement about outside relationships. The couples we are helping to divorce and live in same house have decided that neither can have other relationships visit them in the house. They have also decided that the children will not meet their outside relationships until they get close enough to want to move out and break the Co-habitation agreement. 
Pitfall 5: No Plan for What Happens When One or Both Want to End Living in the Same House– The problem here is that without a Plan to deal with the end of Co-habitation, the Couple will have to start all over again with mediation or litigation. Why? because they could end up in major struggles. 
Solution – At the Long Island Center for Divorce Mediation, we have each couple create a Plan B. Plan B is a contingency plan included in the Stipulation of Settlement (divorce agreement) between the ex-Spouses.Plan B will kick into place when one Spouse or another wants to end the ‘Living in Same House’ arrangement. It includes stipulations for custody, support and what happens to the house. It includes what happens and who pays what if the house is to be sold, until it is sold.
Why do we believe Plan B is necessary?
  1. It is very unlikely that both ex-Spouses will feel satisfied with their co-habitation over many years. Once they start to date and perhaps find new significant others, the ‘living in the same house’ would probably become awkward. Who wants to date a person who goes home to his or her ex-Spouse?
  2. It is still not clear that ‘Living Together in the Same House After Divorce’ is a great idea for the children. Children partially base their future intimate relationships on their parents as role models. How will a non-intimate connection between mom and dad work for the children as they develop? At this point, there is not enough research data on that topic but it is still important to ponder.
  3. Without Plan B in their agreement, ex-Spouses will have to start over to formulate a financial and custodial plan. They will have to go through the divorcing process again as if they are not divorced, even though they are already divorced.
5 Pitfalls For ‘Divorced and Living in the Same House’ - Spouses Might:
  1. Continue Struggles In Front of Children
  2. Fight Over Money Due to Lack of Clarity
  3. Treat Each Other With Disrespect and Lack of Boundaries
  4. Create Unnecessary Distress By Bringing Outside Relationships Into the House
  5. End up in major Conflict at the End of Co-Habitation.
5 Tips For 5 Pitfalls For‘Divorced and Living in the Same House’ – Spouses Need to:
  1. Develop Good Co-Parenting Skills
  2. Create a Workable Financial Plan
  3. Show Respect and Define Roommate Boundaries
  4. Set Up Guidelines for Outside Relationships
  5. Create a Plan B for the Ending of Co-Habitation
What do you think? Would you live like this? Let us know at 631-757-1554 or by sending an email to There, you can read about the divorce mediation process as well as our divorcing services.
About the Author – Dr. Diane Kramer, Suffolk County Divorce Mediator, Psychologist and Co-Parenting Expert, is partners with her husband, Fred Klarer, Divorce Lawyer and Divorce Mediator, in the Long Island Center for Divorce Mediation. The Long Island Center for Divorce Mediation offers comprehensive divorce mediation services at reasonable prices at two offices in Suffolk County – Huntington and Yaphank
Please contact Dr. Diane at 631-757-1554 to set up a free Divorce Mediation Session or a Co-Parenting Session.;
Dr. Kramer was a full Professor of Psychology at Nassau Community College for 40 years. She currently runs both her marital therapy and her divorce mediation practices. Her Extraordinary Self eCourses, in partnership with Donna Anselmo of Bold Marketing Solutions, are about to launch on her own elearning platform. 
Diane won the Long Island Business and Professional Women’s Center Achiever Award in 2007. She is a member of the New York State Council on Divorce Mediation and of the Suffolk County Psychological Association. Diane has written two books: The Creativity Game (1986) and the soon-to-be-published: Marriage or Divorce: When to Hold and When to Fold.