5 Survival Strategies for Divorced Couples Living Together

Divorce doesn’t happen overnight, and in some cases, ex-spouses may have to cohabitate together during the process. While this living situation can certainly be complicated and uncomfortable, it is survivable. Here are some tips on how to overcome if you find yourself in this difficult circumstance.

Survival Tips for Divorced Couples Living Together:

  • Talk to your kids about the living situation
  • Establish a new household budget
  • Take the roommate approach with your ex
  • Give each other space (including time alone with the kids)
  • Don’t be intimate with your ex

Talking To Your Kids

If you and your ex have children together, they’ll undoubtedly have questions about your living situation. It’s natural to be curious about how this scenario will play out and inquiring young minds will want to know.

It’s best to be as open and honest with your kids as possible- in an age-appropriate way. Younger children may hold out hope that by continuing to live together, there’s a chance you and your ex might get back together. Make it clear to them the reasons that you continue living together (e.g., finances, selling the house, working out parenting time) so that they understand the “why” behind the living situation. If you know a timeline for when you’ll no longer be living together, this is also helpful information to share.

If possible, involve your ex in this conversation. Doing so will present a united front to your kids, and hopefully, ease some of their fears or confusion by seeing you both on the same page.

Establishing a New Household Budget

It may feel like your life is on hold during divorce, but the bills certainly don’t stop. You’ll need to have a conversation with your ex about how the household bills will be paid while you’re cohabitating.

Some divorced couples choose to continue paying bills out of a joint bank account until things have been separated while others decide to split the finances right away. Whatever you decide to do, make sure to write it down so that both of you are clear on expectations. You may also want to consider consulting with a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) to help determine the household budget.

Taking the Roommate Approach

As high as your emotions may be right now, treating your ex as a roommate and your divorce as a business transaction is the best way to survive living together during the divorce process. Set clear boundaries with your ex, especially when it comes to personal space. If possible, it’s best to sleep in separate bedrooms during this time. You may also want to create a schedule for the joint living spaces, like the living room, kitchen, and bathroom, so you minimize contact with your ex. Treat your ex how you would treat a roommate and respect their boundaries as well.

Giving Each Other Space

In addition to separating living quarters, it’s also important to give each other space while you’re living together. This means spending less time together (e.g., avoiding watching television or sharing meals).

It could also mean establishing a parenting schedule while you’re living together. Determine who has dinner with the kids and gets them ready for bed on which nights, just as you would if you were living in separate homes. Not only does this minimize contact with your ex, but it also gets the kids used to the routine of doing things separately with each parent- something that will become the norm once the divorce is final.

Avoiding Intimacy with Your Ex

This may seem like an obvious step, but when emotions are high and you’re living so closely with your ex, that desire for intimacy can easily creep in. Being intimate with your ex before the divorce is final can complicate things in many ways. Not only does it complicate things emotionally, but in some states, it may also complicate things legally. Keep this in mind when those feelings of loneliness start to overtake you. Are those few moments of gratification worth the complications?

Living with your ex will not be easy and taking care of yourself during this time is important. Practice plenty of self-care and surround yourself with support to help get you through. While divorced couples living together certainly isn’t ideal, it is possible to survive it. Remember to celebrate your strength when you do!

Looking for more tips on how to deal with your ex? Give these blogs a read:

More Split.fyi Resources:

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Essential Resources

If you’re facing legal/custody battles, a mental health crisis, an urgent medical issue, serious emotional problems, including suicidal thoughts, please seek help from the appropriate professionals near you.

Suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
Crisis line: 1-800-356-5395
Crisis text line: Text “help” to 741741
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV)

Split.fyi Resources
Split.fyi Marital Life Inventory
Divorce Lifecycle Document
Divorce Process Overview


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