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Aug 1 2017

Q: Should my husband rent the basement of our home during/after the divorce?

Situation: I am currently in the middle of a divorce and my soon to be ex-husband wants to live in my basement. He was going to move into an apartment, but can no longer afford it. He has offered to pay me rent, but I want to make sure that is O.K., and that it won’t hurt the divorce proceedings.

A: When considering questions such as this, it is complicated. There is a reason ex-spouses do not continue to live together. First, if the proximity to each other was so amicable that you could live in the same house it is unlikely that you would be currently pursuing a divorce. Second, once you and your soon-to-be-ex (STBX) are operating as non-partnered people that sort of co-residence could become unpredictable or at times violent. Third, regarding children, while not having their parents in the same house will be initially painful, there is greater harm in the potential confusion of a co- residence situation. The children may interpret the co-residence as a hope that you will get back together, when in fact that is not likely.

Simply put, if your STBX wants to relocate his living quarters to the basement while the divorce is pending that is fine, but you will need to comprehensively project that the co-residence will end once the divorce is resolved. Further it make it clear to him that he cannot stall the divorce in order to stay in the household. Should he fail to comply with this, the next step is to pursue a court order to award temporary and sole occupancy of the household to you.

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