More and more often I find myself mediating divorces where couples will go on to live in the same house even after the divorce has been finalized. Are these new age couples setting a new trend in living together even after divorce? Absolutely not! These couples are forced to live together for financial reasons and those reasons alone.
In todays times of economic distress, couples not only can’t afford to live in separate dwellings once separated, they are finding themselves having to live together even after the ink has dried on their divorce papers. Many couples need to sell their houses to be able to afford their new space. It is not only difficult to sell homes in todays market, it’s also very difficult to obtain credit and pass a credit check whether you buy or rent. If couples are fortunate enough to sell their homes at a profit, many are using the profit to pay off debts. It becomes a vicious cycle.
In the past many of these couples were putting off their divorce until “things got better”. Well since it’s been more than three years since the beginning of the great recession, people are still struggling financially. For many, they need to see a light at the end of their tunnel so they are choosing to divorce even though they’ll have to continue living together for a period of time.
As a Professional Family Mediator, it is so important for me to suggest to these couples to create rules and boundaries, if not, living together after divorce may turn out to be more of a nightmare then before.
Here is a list of just a few tips and topics that need to be discussed and agreed upon:
- When children are involved, begin implementing the Parenting Plan
- Decide how you will explain this situation to the children-seek expert advice
- Create a calendar so it is clear as to responsibilities for the children
- Create boundaries for privacy, computers password protected, use of cellphones instead of a house phone, separate bedrooms with locks…….
- Create rules for household chores, eating time whether separate or together
- Do not discuss inappropriate issues in front of the children
This list could go on and on but I think you get the idea. Even though this process is covered during mediation, couples who had litigated their divorce can meet with a Professional Mediator to help create your own, unique set of rules that can make this transition much smoother for you and your family.
Roseann Vanella, Professional Family Mediator, Advanced Mediation Solutions. 3804 Church Rd., Mount Laurel, NJ 08048. 856.669.7172 Additional offices in Philadelphia & Langhorne PA. Roseann hosts a weekly radio show, “Family Affairs” every Thursday from 2:30-3pm EST on Talk Exchange/ Blog Talk Radio. Information is listed at www.AdvancedMediationSolutions.net