Another celebrity divorce is making headlines as actors Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner announced that they are splitting up after 10 years of marriage. Further fanning the media flames was their declaration to People Magazine that they will continue to live together during and after the dissolution process. While it may sound like a fancy Hollywood trend, the decision to reside together after a divorce is not as uncommon as you may think. More and more former spouses are choosing to live together for the best interest of their kids, their finances and their sanity.
Why Live Together
People choose to continue residing together for numerous reasons, including:
- Saving money – Divorce is expensive. All of a sudden, spouses go from a two-income household to a single-income situation. When faced with this reality, some couples find it financially prudent to stay in the same home as roommates and share the expenses.
- The house won’t sell – The housing market is on an upswing, but there are still thousands of homes out there that are upside down in value and not ripe for sale. Selling the marital home is often the solution to splitting assets during a divorce. Instead of losing a home or taking a financial loss, some couples choose to keep the home and live there together.
- Raising the children – Living in the same home makes co-parenting much easier. It maintains a stable schedule for the children and facilitates an ongoing relationship with both parents. Living together also alleviates the burden of one parent shouldering all of the parenting duties.
How to Make it Work
For the Afflecks, living together after divorce may not prove all that difficult. According to the People article, their estate spans 8,800 square feet, with a separate guesthouse. But for everyone else, the logistics may become a challenge. The most important part of this decision is communication.
DivorceInfo.com suggests that you start with honest responses to these questions:
- How will this arrangement affect the children?
- Is there enough space in the home to accommodate both parties?
- How will the expenses be split?
- Is one party hoping for reconciliation?
- What happens when one or both parties begin dating?
Legally, the intention to live together creates a challenge when meeting the requirements for divorce in Illinois. Under the statute, married parties are required to live separate and apart from one another for a time frame ranging from six months to two years, depending on the grounds for divorce. Living in the same house seemingly makes it hard to meet this requirement. However, the growing popularity of this trend has caused some courts to expand the definition of living separate and apart. The best way to determine the legalities of your personal situation is to meet with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney.
Contact an attorney at the Law Office of Elizabeth J. Chacko, P.C. today for a consultation. Serving clients in Naperville, Wheaton, and Downers Grove, our attorneys are ready to assist with all of your divorce needs.