Guest Author - Caroline Henrich
There are states that require divorcing couples to live separate and apart for a certain period of time. There are often public policy reasons for this requirement, including permitting the couples time to decide if they really want to divorce, especially when children are involved.
The deep and painful recession has no doubt caused difficulties for couples that want to divorce, but cannot afford to maintain two households while divorcing. Many people want to consider living under the same roof during this time period. Is this a good idea?
It would appear to be very difficult to successfully live under the same roof while divorcing. It would most certainly involve both legal and emotional issues for consideration.
First, the legal issues. If you live in a state that requires divorcing couples to live separate and apart, you should not even consider this unless you first fully discuss the possibility with an attorney. The obvious concern is how to successfully prove to the judge the actual separation date, if there is later a disagreement. Even if the parties agree, the judge may be suspicious as to whether the living arrangements meet the legal requirements.
Certainly an attorney can advise you as to whether your living arrangements are enough to satisfy the law, but even if he/she believes they are, there is no guarantee a judge will agree. If the judge does not agree, the clock may restart and both persons could find themselves starting over as it relates to the required period of time before a divorce can be granted.
There is also the emotional strain of remaining under the same roof. Even if the divorce is amicable, there is most certainly still stress and strain. Seeing the person everyday that you are divorcing could cause anger, jealousy and other unattractive emotions. If you are considering this type of living arrangement, it would certainly be advisable to speak with a counselor or other professional.
There are alternatives to living under the same roof. Moving in with parents, siblings and friends would appear to be alternatives that should be seriously considered. Renting a room can be an alternative to signing a more expensive lease for an apartment. If you cannot afford a financial advisor, speak with friends and family that can provide ideas. Perhaps even one will have a financial background and be willing to assist you.
Thinking through all the issues and exploring all options will reduce the chances you will make a decision that you may later regret.