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My wife has decided that we should live apart, and begin divorce proceedings. The problem? We can't afford to establish a new household, so we are forced to live awkwardly in the same house. Has anyone else been in this situation? Does anyone have any advice?
I have become so desperate for ideas, that I even considered trying to have an online fundraiser.
Any supportive or instructional comments will be most welcome.

CraeftSmith 7 May 29
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24 comments

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13

It’s awkward to be sure! Sorry you’re going thru it; a happier life is on the other side for you.
When you do the math, did you reevaluate expenses you deem “necessities”? Many of us have expenses for wants, not needs (ex., a friend bought a used car instead of leasing fancy new ones). What can you sell to earn cash? I’m living far more simply than I did when married, and the only things I miss are my gym membership and camping equipment.
Check divorce laws in your state. In NJ, collaborative divorce is faster and cheaper than going to court. My divorce was final in 9 months.
Also, check whether your state permits “do-it-yourself-divorce.”
We saw a collaborative divorce-trained therapist who served as a divorce coach. She helped us air our grievances, agree how to live together peacefully until we could separate, how to make financial decisions, how to tell our daughters and other immediate family, when to sell the house, etc.
I’m convinced that the collaborative process is why my ex and I have an amicable relationship now.
Good luck!

UUNJ Level 8 May 29, 2018

That's a great comment.

A divorce trained counselor is a great idea! Someone can arbitrate our disputes.
Ohio has extremely punitive alimony laws. It's unlikely I will ever get back to my current standard of living, nor will I likely be able to retire (she gets half, which isn't enough to live on)

@CraeftSmith NJ splits everything 50/50, which is fair. I am not going to be able to retire for many years, but I’m happier now and the finanaicial risk was worth it.

7

Yes it was a pain in the bum, but it is just a temp position and is better than one or the other of you throwing the other one out on the street.

Completely agree. I just have to keep reminding her of that! Haha

7

I have not been in that situation, so I cannot offer advice, but you do have my sympathies. Hang in there...

Thank you. Your kindness means a lot.

6

I've recently gone through this situation and it worked itself out after a period of time. We had an extra bedroom to accommodate our dilemma while we were able to help each other work out the actual problem of finding a new place for each of us. We called an auction house to come and get everything we didn't want to keep and that gave us some space and cash. It helped to put things in writing for each of us to abide by and know where we stood. Time went slowly but we managed to do it.

OldGoat43 Level 9 May 29, 2018

How long did it take you to get everything worked out?

6

The way you phrase it, "my wife decided" makes it sound like the decision was unilateral on her part. I've been on both sides. By the time I've gotten to that point, I'm just done and there's no going back. I've heard marriage counselors say that by the time couples get to their office it's almost always too late. Treat it like any crappy situation you didn't choose, your job was bought out and the new boss hates you or you got assigned a Jesus freak for a dorm mate. Take care of you, keep your mind open to possibilities. You may have to be a lot poorer and get a roommate or couchsurf, decide for yourself if that's better.

Buttercup Level 7 May 29, 2018

Just saw you had kids at home and I want to amend it, if she is the one that wants out she has at least 51% of the responsibility to leave.

6

Well, that sucks! I've dealt with this scenario twice in my life. The first time around I had to move in with my parents temporarily while I regrouped. The second time, I was in much better shape, financially. I'm not wealthy, and I had to drain much of my retirement to establish my own household, but it's done. I don't know the specifics of your situation beyond what you described, but if that is an option for one of you (to move in with parents), it could work. But you mentioned that without her income, you can't afford to maintain the home you're in. If there are no children involved, that simplifies things greatly. You may have to entertain less appealing options, like becoming a sub-renter and getting a room in a house. These types of rental arrangements can be found on Craiglist and possibly on larger real estate sites like Zillow.com (but I think they focus on the whole unit, and not sub-leasing/renting). I'm sorry you're in this situation and hope this is helpful in some way.

IAMGROOT Level 7 May 29, 2018

Thanks for the ideas, and normalizing living in less than ideal circumstances for awhile.

6

I'm so sorry you going through this. Hang in there, it happens to a lot of people all the time.

Kojaksmom Level 8 May 29, 2018

Yeah. I don't fell alone in this, because I know I can be in solidarity with the many other people who have been through this same thing.
It's been emotionally over for a long time. I just have to get through this without going bankrupt haha

@CraeftSmith just keep your eyes open. There's a lot of people that may be looking for a roommate situation until you could get on your feet.

6

Same boat still together for the rent and daughter.

Yeah. We have young kids in the house. I am very happy I get to see them everyday, so living apart is bittersweet from that point on view

6

My wife left on Saturday for the same sentiment. She is living with her parents. She has to get a job to get her own place.

Squirrel Level 7 May 29, 2018

I'm am sorry to hear of your troubles too. hugs

I am sorry, my friend.
On the other hand, this might contain some advice. I wonder if my wife can go live with her parents. She has a job, but if she takes all her income, we will both go bankrupt.

5

I don't have any constructive ideas. I am sympathetic and understand how difficult that must be. Hugs.

Thanks ☺️

5

Been there guy. 3 years before the final. It CAN be done. Fortunately for me, we lived in a luxury home large enough that we could establish separate zones to live in Just try to keep the hallway sex to a minimum.

Haha regarding hallway sex.
Unfortunately we live in an American four square. Separate zones is not an option 😟
I have my own room, but we still have to interact everyday.
Thanks for the encouragement. It helps a lot to know that other people have been through the same thing.

3

Been there, done that. It was good after the initial awkwardness went away. We got along great and parted as friends when it was all said and done. Just have respect for each other's space and no obvious dating.

tryingcake Level 7 May 29, 2018

What boundaries did you define as "obvious dating"? Why did you feel that was a necessary boundary?

3

After reading all these comments, I'm never getting married and I'll never live with anyone.

Lol! Well I am never getting married again. I grew a lot because of the experience, but I can't put myself in financial jeopardy like that at my age ever again. Not if I want to have the option to retire if I get sick or something.

3

Can you sell the house you’re currently in? Each get your own place after? If there’s a lot of debt, bankruptcy is an option.

Marcie1974 Level 8 May 29, 2018

Unfortunately no. The house has negative equity. That is a key problem

@CraeftSmith oh damn. Now the situation makes more sense. That’s really tough, you have my sympathy

@Marcie1974 thanks

2

Talk to a local divorce lawyer. I'm a divorce lawyer in CA. You need to prepare for the transition, gather your documents, and educate yourself as much as possible about the law so that you can avoid financial catastrophes.

Elie Level 3 May 29, 2018

This is solid advice. I should do it. It seems like a point of no return. Of course if she gets a lawyer first, I will freak out, so I should probably go ahead and do it.

2

We owned our home so lived together separated for the 3 momths it took to sell it, with 3 kids this was not easy... I went up to a friends on the weekends and we recorded our music, a great distraction. If you are renting it’s tougher, do you both work? You will likely need a simpler lifestyle, just rent a room or get a roommate. You will recover, live simple, cook at home. If it’s possible to live below your means save your money. I would not get married again, marriage is just a bad deal for men. I’m still paying for it... that said, I’ve had lots of good things happen in my life that would not have been possible if I was still married. Don’t let stress get the better of you, you will find a way to survive and prosper if you stay present... don’t expend all your energy on worrying about past or future, what can you do today, do you have food today, do you have a roof today. You are walking where many have gone before you, the dust will settle and you will learn to love your new life. If both people in a relationship aren’t happy nobody is happy... the challenges may seem an impossible task, breathe and do one thing today to make a new life... you do not need to know what it will look like until you get there... it’s all about this moment.

We have two houses, one we live in and one is a rental. I honestly have no idea how we are going to live apart until one of them is paid off, which will be years from now. We would both would have to take such a serious standard of living hit, that it would be bad for the kids' future. No easy way out, but I am still searching for something that will move this process along.

@CraeftSmith we also had rental property, I ultimately gave that one to my ex, she lives in it a few blocks from me... I have the kids half the time... sounds like you have some assets... you can make it work. I took a small apartment and set up cramped space for the kids... we had a blast, now I’ve got a bigger house and take care of my mom as well, I sell guitars for a living so if I could find a way I think you will too🙂 stay calm, be happy... I’m not a vengeful person per se but LivingWell is the best revenge, that if I was vengeful, lol... But really it’s all about the kids in my case… all the best.

2

My wife and I have been happily separated for over 10 years now and we are best friends than ever. We both agreed since the beginning of the fall that we will keep the empire (our house) together. It has not been that difficult for us. We both respect our personal time and share the responsibilities as parents. Both daughters adults now and they perfectly understand. Long story short, it is possible.

IamNobody Level 8 May 29, 2018

Tell me more. Do you date? Do you have separate "wings" of the house? I am really interested in how to make that plan work, because I would get to see the kids all the time, and there is no significant financial danger.

@CraeftSmith the key thing here is that both equally have to be adults. There is no room for childish behavior of any kind. Example, she started seeing a guy about 5 years ago. I am ok with it but at the beginning I had to tell him that she is not a lost puppy, I do care about her well being. The financial agreement really saves a lot of headaches. We never wanted lawyers involved. We think they will find ways to turn us against each other. We just don't want that. I understand this may not work for everyone.

@CraeftSmith ....and forgot to tell you the most important part. Dating is almost impossible, can't make it past dinner as soon as they hear separated=married=get out of my sight...... I have never lied and I don't see a reason to. If I find what I would like to find then great. I am old enough now to care about it. If you're still young then you may need a different approach

@IamNobody at this point I am not looking for a new long term relationship. Just someone to have fun with. If that grows to more, well then good us

@IamNobody thanks for the advice. I certainly agree about the lawyers

1

For what my 2 cents are worth, I was on the other end of this. I filed for divorce, but wanted to make sure my wife and child would be secure once I left; so I stayed there on the couch for a few months (Michigan has a 6-month waiting period when you have kids) to give our kid time to adjust and get ready for the change, and to work out our financial arrangements in advance. They stayed in the house, I moved to an apartment and we agreed on the amount of support. Kept the courts out of our finances completely. Clearly yours is a different situation, but so far we have had no animosity. I just explained that I had to go. She knew why; I asked her to go to counseling and she refused, so I felt I had to take the next step, for my own sake.

Probably not very helpful, I know... sorry.

Paul4747 Level 8 June 26, 2018
1

Been there...
Do the things that you have to do to accomplish the divorce in a timely manner, they have to get done and it's a lot easier if you stay on top of things.
No matter how bad you feel that you are treated, do not retaliate.
And the hard part... Just enjoy life the best you can.
Oh, one last thing, do not bad mouth your soon to be ex especially to your children.

1

In the exact same situation!

We should trade ideas. Are you the one leaving, or being left?

@CraeftSmith Leaving

@brainyactress oh, well then you should be trading ideas with my wife lol

@CraeftSmith Maybe. It’s complicated for everyone.

1

"can't afford a new household"? Unless you have equity in a house you mutually are trying to protect then why stay? For me, living in a motel with weekly rates short term would be more healthy. Crash on a friend's couch until first month rent and deposit is saved.
Children involved? Plans become more complicated. You provided little info to base suggestions on. Best of luck to you.

2TuffTony Level 5 May 30, 2018

There are kids involved. The house has negative equity, and selling it would make us both homeless. Selling it wouldn't free up enough money to pay for an apartment for both of us. Just one of us. Even then, it would be a terrible apartment.

1

I had that happen with with myself and wife, lasted a few months. I didn't want her to go, but she did. It's really hard, and I feel for you. I wish you the best, and it does put a strain on the pocket book. Good luck.

kenriley Level 8 May 29, 2018

Thanks man. If I could put it back together I would, at least for the kids' sakes. But it is what it is. Went looking at apartments today, just to see what the deal was.

1

I'm sorry. maybe look for a roommate?

Yeah. I am not sure how that works for people from established households. I have a lot of books, and tools that I use for making money on the side. That money is important, so I don't want to lose it.
Do you think there are roommate situations that could accommodate that?

Haha, maybe I could just go live in a shop!

@CraeftSmith or start one.

@springlover that would certainly get my mind off things. It takes money to make money, though, and oli don't know if I have the resources to accomplish that. I'll look it though. Every lead is worth checking

0

"can't afford a new household"? Unless you have equity in a house you mutually are trying to protect then why stay? For me, living in a motel with weekly rates short term would be more healthy. Crash on a friend's couch until first month rent and deposit is saved.
Children involved? Plans become more complicated. You provided little info to base suggestions on. Best of luck to you.

2TuffTony Level 5 May 30, 2018
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