Find Mediators Near You:

Survival Tips for Cohabitating During Divorce

Survival Tips for Cohabitating During Divorce

When a couple is faced with separation, one of the most challenging decisions is who stays in the home and who goes?  

Issues of divorce and real estate go hand in hand.  They often intertwine with other complex problems in the separation, such as the decision-making responsibility of the children, parenting time, division of assets, and more.

Currently, there is a shortage of homes to purchase, and most homes are selling above the asking price, not to mention even renting a home is extremely expensive.

There are several reasons why parties want to continue living together during the separation.  In many cases, it is out of financial necessity.  Some parties cannot afford to live separately; for others, it may be because of the children, and for some, they just both refuse to go.

If both husband and wife cannot agree on who should go or absolutely cannot live together, they can bring a motion to the Court to have exclusive possession of the home.  A Judge will make the final determination.

Here are some helpful tips to help you survive living together until you can figure out how to live apart.  

Communication and Respect

Good communication is critical.  If you cannot communicate verbally, try implementing a different communication protocol such as texting or emailing.  

Communication should be brief courteous, and you should stick to the topic of discussion.  Keep your emotions out of it.  This shouldn’t be an opportunity to instigate an argument.   

Keep your communication polite and respect one another.  This will show an excellent example to your kids, providing the groundwork for a good co-parenting relationship.

Sleeping Arrangements

It is a bad idea to continue sleeping in the same bed.  If you have a spare bedroom in your home, one of the parties should move into that room, including moving their clothes and personal belongings out of the master bedroom.  If you are concerned about privacy, you can also install a lock on the door.

If there isn’t a spare bedroom, moving into the basement or sleeping on the couch is another viable option. 

Sharing Household Tasks 

As the dynamic of your marriage changed, so should the household responsibilities.  If one spouse has been primarily responsible for most household tasks, you should start to pull your weight and contribute.


Often emotions come with blame, and blame often leads to fighting.  Fighting is overwhelming and destructive. 

You will want to ensure you keep your emotions under control while living with your ex.  Most couples separating don’t like each other much, and now you have to live with each other for an extended period of time.  Now is the time to keep your emotions under control.  

It is essential to practice self-care, eat healthily, exercise, meditate and maybe therapy to support you through this time.  

It is also crucial for your children not to see you overly emotional.


As you separate, your finances will also separate.  If your spouse has been the one to primarily manage the home’s finances, it is time for you to learn how to manage your own finances.  A financial planner can help you create a budget.

You and your spouse should also decide how the home’s finances will be shared.  If you cannot agree, you can bring a motion to the Court to have a Judge decide.

Significant Others

You must never bring a new romantic partner into the home you share with your ex.  This can very quickly turn an amicable divorce into a hostile one.  While you are undergoing the separation process and living with your ex, it isn’t a good idea to introduce new partners into the children’s lives either.

Spend Less Time Together

Spending less time together may be critical to getting along better while living under the same roof.  Aside from sleeping in separate rooms, scheduling different times to prepare meals or watching tv in separate rooms may be a good idea.

Coordinate Parenting Time

Creating a parenting plan will help to eliminate unnecessary arguments.  A parenting plan can include various issues such as who is responsible for bringing the kids to and from school, who prepares meals for the kids, who eats which meals with the kids, and who is responsible for parenting responsibilities.    

Although living together during the separation seems like a good idea for various reasons, there will undoubtedly be some challenges to overcome.


Marian Grande

Marian Grande is a Mediator and Founder of Absolute Dispute Resolution. By combining positive communication techniques with her knowledge of family law, civil litigation and legal processes, Marian helps parties solve their own problems and reach lasting agreements that are conducive to all parties involved in a dispute. Marian has over… MORE

Featured Members

View all

Read these next


A Successful Mediation

Because facilitative mediation has been demonstrably successful in resolving disputes, many courts presiding over civil claims are referring cases to mediators, even as early as at the first scheduling conference,...

By William Gilbride

Dignity, Not Democracy

From Colin Rule's blog. David Ignatius in today's Post: "We talk about democracy and human rights. Iraqis talk about justice and honor." That comment from Lt. Col. David Kilcullen, made...

By Colin Rule

The Mediator’s Life

I remember the first time I succeeded in a mediation. I was a newbie mediator, just barely out of my studies and on my own. A university dean I knew...

By Tammy Lenski