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Living Together After Separation: If you do nothing else, do this one thing!

Picture this: you've made the incredibly difficult decision to separate from your partner. You own your home together, and both of you have received legal advice not to leave the matrimonial home for fear of losing out on entitlements. You now have to live separately but in the same home.


What fresh hell is that you ask?! Well, let me tell you, it is going to be pretty tough.


On the latest episode of my podcast, Dirty Laundry, co-host Amanda Silver and I discuss the difficulties, drama and disrespect that can come during this time. Listen here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/2122857/12386474


One thing I wanted to highlight here in this blog is your options during this time - namely, how best to go about surviving this particular purgatory.


Here is the most important thing you can do for yourself and your relationship with your ex:


INTERIM AGREEMENT.


Yes, this is in caps lock for a reason! In my professional opinion, this is the most crucial thing you can do.


Remember in university or when you first moved out on your own, when you were living with some buddies and they would come home late and drunk and wake everyone up? Or they would bring home a date making everyone uncomfortable?

Or they would disrespect you by eating all your food? What did you do to tackle this? You were stuck in a lease so there was no kicking them out, you had to mediate the situation.


Well, living with your ex is really no different. Go ahead and write your name on your food, schedule who gets the bathroom or TV when, decide which nights you can have friends over. Keep track of who is responsible for what part of the shared bills. It may seem juvenile, but this is exactly what an interim agreement will outline.


Now, of course, I'm simplifying it here, but it really doesn't have to be complicated.


If you have children, write out a parenting schedule. It is a great way to stay accountable to your kids and begin the process of dividing up parenting time, (which will inevitably be the next step in your separation anyway), now you have the opportunity to practice and see what works and what doesn't.


If this is something you cannot do on your own, this is the perfect time to bring in a professional. As usual, I am shamelessly plugging mediation.


Many folks assume that your first call after separation is to a lawyer, and though important, I truly believe that your first call is to a mediator who can help you write an interim plan. They are WAY more cost effective, and timely. Waiting for lawyers to handle this could mean months and months of back and forth, ultimately creating even more conflict when you're living with your ex. Getting an interim plan in practice immediately, however, could keep things amicable and support a much better divorce and co-parenting relationship long term.






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