Surviving separation while living together. Yes it can be challenging, but it can be done.
There are many reasons people continue to stay together once separated.
Separation can be an emotionally challenging process that can take a toll on any individual or family involved.
However, sometimes due to life’s circumstances it may be difficult for spouses to immediately move out of the marital home.
This blog explains the challenges of separation whilst living together and our 10 best tips to navigate them.
Separated but together. The reality of living under the same roof.
It is common that the decision to separate or divorce is met with mixed emotions by the parties involved.
When couples decide to separate but continue to live in the same house, they face a unique challenge.
There are a number of reasons people continue to live under the same roof following separation including financial constraints, the well-being of children, cultural reasons or seeking to maintain some degree of stability during this transitional period.
There are several challenges however in surviving separation while living together and going through the Divorce process.
Challenges of Separation while living together.
Emotional turmoil – a separation can be an emotionally turbulent experience and living under the same roof can add an extra layer of difficulty.
Dealing with the end of a marriage while needing to see or spend time with your former spouse on a daily basis can intensify feelings of sadness, anger or resentment.
Communication struggles – during a separation or divorce effective communication is vital. However, living in close proximity together can lead to communication breakdowns where emotions run high and old conflicts emerge.
Boundaries and personal space – maintaining personal boundaries is crucial in a separation under the one roof. Finding personal space and time apart can be challenging which will lead to further emotional strain.
Impact on children – commonly there may be children involved when separation occurs. Witnessing their parents separation while still living together can be confusing and confronting.
Legal and financial implications – the meeting of joint expenses whilst living under the one roof can be problematic particularly if one party refuses to cooperate or contribute to the joint running of the household. This may require one party to obtain legal assistance.
10 Tips for surviving separation while living under the same roof.
Despite the above difficulties and challenges, it is possible to navigate living together during a separation.
We suggest some solutions:
1. Open communication:
If possible, communicate openly about your intentions, feelings, and the rules you want to set during the period whilst you are still under the same roof.
2. Establish boundaries:
Try and create clear physical and emotional boundaries to help maintain a sense of personal space.
For example that each party’s personal bedroom be out of bounds to the other without invitation.
You may also wish to create a time after which issues surrounding the household are not to be discussed; this will allow each party time to decompress each day.
3. Seek support:
It is crucial to reach out to friends, family members or even professional counsellors to provide emotional support and guidance.
This is one time in your life where it is okay to ask for help.
4. Get legal and financial assistance:
It is important to know how you stand financially and advice as to your best options to help fairly divide assets upon separation; and importantly when this should occur.
Consulting with an experienced family law solicitor and financial advisor, if necessary, can be crucial steps in getting your feet firmly on the ground in planning your future.
It’s critical to obtain advice about how best to deal with the marital home including whether for example it may be retained for a period to enable children to complete schooling.
5. Take time to focus on the future:
Take the opportunity to look at what positive future can occur for yourself and as needed your children.
What will your financial needs be, what changes will be required and what support from family and friends can be accessed are good topics for consideration.
6. Divide the household responsibilities:
Trying to set a guideline as to which party is responsible for various household activities including shopping, cooking, cleaning and even taking out the rubbish.
This can help reduce conflict.
7. Take time to explore future living arrangements
When a separation occurs there is usually a need to create some distance from your former spouse whether before or after issues in relation to property and care of children are finalised.
It is therefore important to consider at least temporary living arrangements and how they will be funded.
It is then necessary to have an open and honest conversation with your former spouse about this topic as it is not uncommon for one party to have a superior financial earning capacity.
8. Explore and prioritise the children’s needs:
Your children’s needs need to be considered as a priority.
Do they need their own support or counselling and give consideration as to how both parties can spend personal time with the children and what activities are to be shared together.
9. Look at new activities to explore:
To create a refreshed mental attitude it is sometimes worthwhile looking at external activities such as sport, social engagements and clubs to both get you out of the house and engage you in worthwhile pursuits.
This will provide some emotional stability during this difficult period.
10. Avoid introducing new parties or partners to the household.
The introduction of a new relationship or partner whilst parties are still residing in the one house can be extremely problematic creating anger and jealousy in many cases.
Where possible, any new relationship should be kept at some distance from the household until the issue of moving forward into separate households is more advanced.
Surviving separation while living together is one of the most challenging circumstances that an individual can face.
It is important to remember that this phase is only temporary and there will be light at the end of the tunnel.
Leaning on third parties in obtaining professional help, both legally and emotionally, can ease this process and help you move forward with greater clarity and strength.
Remember to be patient with yourself and at times with your ex-spouse as both of you navigate this difficult chapter in your lives.
If you would like to understand the requirements to obtain a divorce whilst living under the same roof then continue reading our blog on this topic.