Thursday, January 10, 2008

House Sharing During a Divorce

One of the trends I have been noticing in the last few years is that more couples are staying in the same house as their divorce progresses. This can happen when both parties are still compatible or at least are willing to behave civilly toward each other. Sometimes the parties decide that they need to save their money and not immediately set up a second household. Sometimes work schedules make such an arrangement easy to do. And sometimes, neither parent can stand to be away from the kids. Whatever the reason, staying in the same house can add to tensions or can open the parties up to possibilities of more cooperation in a variety of ways.

I have especially seen this house-sharing trend in Collaborative cases, which isn't too surprising if you think about it. Collaborating couples generally are willing to accommodate each other in ways that warring couples aren't. There is also less competition and possessiveness in Collaborative cases. Sharing the house often leads to more "out-of-the-box" solutions to economic and parenting issues, and that's a good thing.

Unfortunately, such house sharing can occur in hotly-contested, litigation cases and that can lead to a lot of stress as well as ridiculous posturing. In those cases, it may occur because neither party wants to give an inch on keeping possession of the house. And that can be the case even where one party or both could not afford to pay the house payment. If the parties were using a Collaborative approach, they could very likely come up with a reasonable solution and make everyone's life less stressful.

An interesting story was recently distributed by the Associated Press describing how divorce in Cuba works. They don't use Collaborative Law, but they manage to have brief, quick divorces. The problem is that the newly divorced parties often have to remain in the same residence for years (maybe forever) because of a severe housing shortage. It leads to many difficult years of co-existence, but there is apparently no alternative. Take a look at the full article to get a little peak at life in Cuba today. Thanks to Kramer Vs., the always interesting blog from the Rosen Law Firm in North Carolina.

No comments: