Checklist: Living Separately Under the Same Roof
Have you and your spouse decided to get a divorce but are still living in the same house? There may be compelling reasons to do so -- you can't afford separate places, you want to maintain a stable family situation for your children, proximity to your place of employment, etc.
Your date of separation has legal implications in many states. It can be tricky proving that you are really separated if, for family or economic reasons, you are still living together in the same house.
Here is a checklist of what you should do if you and your spouse are still living together but are separated.
- Establish and maintain the intent to separate permanently or indefinitely.
- Use separate bedrooms.
- Do not engage in romantic or sexual intimacy.
- Stop wearing wedding rings.
- Don’t shop for your spouse’s food, prepare his meals, or shop for his clothing and other necessities.
- Don’t let your spouse shop for you, and don’t use his food or other purchases.
- Do not eat meals together, except for special occasions such as holidays or children’s birthdays.
- Make each spouse responsible for caring for their own space within the home, such as a bedroom.
- Make each spouse responsible for doing their own laundry.
- Use a separate and secure computer.
- Use a separate and secure telephone/cell phone for personal and business calls.
- Establish separate checking accounts.
- Cease socializing together, e.g., do not attend parties, movies, theater, etc. together.
- Do not attend church together.
- Where there are minor children, interact as parents only where strictly necessary from the children’s perspective and their well-being, e.g., meeting with school officials. If you both attend your child’s game, don’t sit together.
- Don’t give gifts to your spouse for birthdays, Christmas, anniversary, Valentine’s Day, etc.
- Let close associates and relatives know that you are not living as man and wife, but are separated within the residence.
- Have a third party come to the home from time to time to personally observe the two spouses’ separate and distinct living quarters (bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.).
- Utilize separate entrances to residence if feasible.
- Be prepared to explain why you are living separately under the same roof, e.g., financial considerations; unavailability of separate residence; easing children’s transition to parental separation, etc.