You and your spouse plan to get divorced in the future, but for now, you want to continue living in the same house with a legal separation in place. That legal separation protects both of you financially in various ways, and you've already decided who will pay certain bills.
If you're getting along well enough to reside in the same household, you may think the transition to a roommate-style relationship will be an easy one. Nevertheless, it's advantageous to set up household rules in your legal separation agreement so both of you know what to expect and can feel more secure about the situation.
Living as Roommates
If your decision to break up is mutual and you are still friendly with each other, it's easy to continue in old habits that you built during your time together. Those habits may not fit the usual concept of "roommate," however. In addition, if you don't set ground rules regarding dating, there's strong potential for strained situations and hurt feelings.
Examples of Ground Rules
Keeping Belongings Separate
You may still share a kitchen, but that doesn't mean you have to share food. Roommates typically buy their own groceries and keep them in different parts of the refrigerator and on different shelves in the cabinets. This is also the time to agree that you won't borrow each other's T-shirts, shampoo or shaving razors.
Splitting Up Household Chores
Decide who is responsible for certain household duties and make this part of the legal agreement. This might seem pointless if the two of you are satisfied with your current division of chores. However, think about what will happen if one of you begins a romantic relationship and starts spending most of the time at the new friend's place. Arguments are likely to result when that person says they shouldn't have to do certain projects because they're hardly ever around.
Following Dating Rules
To prevent uncomfortable moments, you might both agree not to have overnight romantic guests during this legal separation. You might even agree not to have dates over to the place of residence for dinner or for watching TV.
You may find it hard to imagine, but agreeing to get a divorce sometimes sparks new sexual tension between partners. Don't succumb to temptation and renew your physical relationship. Changing from married partners to friends with benefits can really complicate matters. Instead, even if it feels a bit embarrassing, set up the agreement for "no sex" in the legal separation.
Preparing to Move Forward
Contact a divorce attorney like one from Law Office of Shelli Wright Johnson about setting up this legal separation. If possible, determine a specific day, or at least a specific week, when you and your ex will stop cohabitating. A defined end point prevents arguments about one person trying to end the cohabitation more quickly than originally agreed upon or one person dragging their feet.Share
18 May 2015
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