Our country’s economic situation has had far more of an effect on divorce than many people realize. Not only has the economy caused the destruction of a great many marriages, but it also affects how people go about their divorces. For example, there are people who, in the wake of a divorce, choose not to separate simply because neither of them is able to sustain themselves on a single income.
Unbelievable as this may sound, it’s true. The number of people who remain with their ex’s after the divorce is final is greater than you’d think. Many of these couples are in situations where they are unable to sell the home they shared, and neither can afford to live in it alone. In this situation many of them choose cohabitation after divorce, which, as you can image, is a whole different kettle of fish.
However, unexpected and unhoped-for as it may be, living together after the divorce is final still happens. And when it does, a couple will need to make some very major changes in the way they live, and the types of expectations they harbor. So we’ve put together a basic list of some things that couples would need to agree on before they can successfully embark on the process of cohabitation after divorce.
The two of you need to figure out ahead of time who is going to pay for what. Sit down and figure out what household expenses are going to be assigned to each person. Obviously, if only one of you has an income, this isn’t something you need to address. But if you are both earning an income, then consider this a roommate situation, and figure out ALL of the financial details ahead of time. Then, once you have everything agreed upon, write it all down, and make sure that both of you sign it. That way, one cannot later claim that the heat water bill was supposed to be the other one’s responsibility.
Again, if only one of you is earning the income that supports both of you, then it seems only fair that the other person assume the larger portion of the domestic duties that supports both people’s home life.
Consider, however, having the “stay-at-home” member of your roommate agreement do more of the household chores and less of the personal chores. For example, perhaps each person could do their own laundry, which is more personal, while vacuuming the common rooms could be done by the non-earning roommate. Also, it may be wise to have each person clean their own bedroom and bathroom, simply in order to respect one another’s privacy.
However, for a divorced couple who are both earning, the chores should be divided differently. Again, consider each doing your own personal cleaning, and then dividing the more general chores, like dusting, dishes, and vacuuming. Mealtimes can be difficult, as eating together can feel very intimate and that is difficult after a divorce. Consider each taking care of your own meals, or sharing the cooking responsibilities but eating separately in different rooms.
Join us next time, when we will be talking about issues like personal space, other relationships, and rearranging expectations. Until then, if you or a loved one are considering divorce and would like help dealing with all of the many details and issues that come up along the way, we are here to help. The experienced family law attorneys at The Kronzek Firm have been successfully helping the people of Michigan with their divorces for decades. We can help you too.