Can Two People Live Together During a Divorce?

By Larissa Bodniowycz, J.D.

Can Two People Live Together During a Divorce?

By Larissa Bodniowycz, J.D.

Couples sometimes decide to live together during a divorce, particularly if it is uncontested. It is perfectly fine for couples to continue to live together, but there are advantages and disadvantages which should be weighed carefully.

Woman and man sitting on opposite ends of a couch looking sadly away from each other

In Splitting Up Together, a hit ABC television comedy, a couple decides that they will get a divorce, and continue to live together during the process taking turns sleeping in the garage and the house. It's a funny premise that has roots in real life.

Financial Considerations

Divorce puts a strain on a couple's finances. Living expenses are no longer combined so each spouse must now pay for things individually. There are also legal expenses such as attorneys' fees and court filing fees associated with the divorce.

Living together during the process can help ease the financial transition because key living expenses like the mortgage and utility bills remain shared. It also eliminates the need for one spouse to immediately buy all new furniture for a new home.

Impact on Divorce Proceedings

Here, no single spouse is accused of being at fault. This is the most common type of divorce. Living together has little to no legal impact in a no-fault divorce.

In a fault divorce, one spouse blames the other spouse for the end of the marriage. For fault divorces are only recognized in a few states. Living together during the divorce can undercut the argument. If there is no other option, spouses can divide their lives as much as possible to minimize the impact on the divorce proceedings. For example, the house can be divided to give each spouse their own area.

Family Dynamics

Living together during a divorce will impact family dynamics. How it impacts them depends on the family and situation. It is likely to magnify whatever the family dynamic is. For example, spouses with a history of intense arguments are likely to see these disagreements worsen while those who talk through problems like business partners will likely see that dynamic continue.

If a couple has children, living together can help maintain a sense of normalcy. It also makes it easier for the parents to continue sharing in parenting responsibilities. On the other hand, it only delays the inevitable. Eventually the children will need to face the change. Living together during divorce can give children false hope and make it more emotional for them when the physical separation occurs.

Living together can also impair both spouses' ability to move on and begin new romantic relationships. If one spouse moves on and begins dating before the other, it can lead to jealousy and arguments. Additionally, romantic prospects are not typically thrilled to hear that someone is still living with their ex-spouse.

Ultimately, whether to live together during a divorce is more of a practical decision than a legal one. Consider both the advantages and disadvantages carefully before making the decision and, if needed, consult a disinterested third party such as a psychologist or trusted friend to help you make the decision.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.