It’s not easy to pack up your belongings and move out. There are a lot of considerations and decisions that need to be made.
Often people worry that if they leave the home, then they will somehow lose entitlement or control of it. Not surprisingly then, more and more separated couples opt to live under the one roof, whilst they sort out their parenting and financial matters.
Although in theory this may seem like a sound idea, in many cases it can cause many more problems than it resolves.
One of the major problems of living separated under the one roof is having to manage and navigate your relationship with your ex, now that you have separated. Difficulties arise around communication, living arrangements and co-parenting of children as well as meeting the household expenses. The longer you and your ex remain living under the one roof, the more chance of increasing the complexity of these problems.
“Keep Calm and know your Boundaries”
If you choose to live under the one roof separated, then make sure it’s only for a short period of time and no longer than a year. Living under the one roof for too long can have damaging psychological, emotional and financial consequences and can complicate the divorce process.
Living under the one roof can be managed if you remain aware and alert to what you need to do to ensure that the experience is tolerable for all, especially children.
In circumstances where you are experiencing family violence, or you feel at risk of emotional or physical harm for yourself or your children, then consider exploring alternative options because living under the one roof may not be appropriate or safe for you. In those circumstances you may even need to seek a sole occupation order , where your ex is removed from the home and you can remain living in peace with the children.
Where children are exposed to unresolved and ongoing conflict between you and your ex, this will have long lasting damaging effects on their emotional and psychological well-being. There is a plethora of credible and consistent social science evidence that shows that children living under these conditions can experience lifelong emotional and psychological problems. They are likely to develop anxiety, depression, addictive behaviours and often under-perform at school.
Children deserve to live in conflict-free homes. They must be protected, safe and nurtured. As parents we have a duty to ensure that we provide this care for our children. If you are struggling and you and the children are living in toxic conditions then get support from counsellors, medical practitioners, lawyers and even the police if necessary. This is not the time to feel shame, guilt or fear. You and your children deserve protection and safety.
Here are 5 things you can do to make living under the one roof harmonious:
1. Don’t discuss your divorce in front of your children. They never need to know about the details of the breakdown of your relationship or what decisions you need to make to finalise your divorce;
2. Don’t sleep in the same room with your ex. Make sure that you have clear and consistent boundaries about sleeping arrangements. This is particularly important for children, who desperately want their parents to stay together. Giving children confused and mixed messages about your relationship is unfair. Its also not fair for your ex, especially if you are the one who decided to end the relationship.
3. Discuss the payment of household bills, the mortgage, and the children’s expenses. This is not the time to stop paying the mortgage or the school fees. If you need help with this, then speak to a specialist family lawyer.
4. Unless you and your ex are super co -operative and happy to sit together to watch a favourite TV show allocate times where you and your ex can use the kitchen, lounge or TV room. Now that you’re separated, you will need to discuss the use of common areas, so that arguments don’t happen.
5. Don’t bring your latest date home to meet the family or stay the night. Be sensible and sensitive about the situation. Even where your separation is amicable, and you both agreed to call the relationship quits, consider the need for your ex to grieve and heal.
Living under the one roof is challenging but possible, provide that you and your ex, have discussed the rules and boundaries of co-existing in this situation.
It’s best to resolve and reach agreement quickly in relation to your parenting and property matters, so that you make a clean financial and emotional break. Divorce is an opportunity for you to grow and move forward in life. Take the opportunity and create a life for you, your children and your family that you want and deserve.
The information contained here is for general information purposes only. It is not legal advice. If you require specialist legal advice, contact Cominos Family Lawyers.