Separated But Living Together – Some Real Facts To Know

Learn to maintain the right balance in this tricky situation with the proper knowledge about it.

Reviewed by Dr Nancy B Irwin, PsyD
Written by Sneha Tete, Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach
Edited by Asmita De, MA (English)
Fact-checked by Gazala Firdos Ansari, Integrated MA (English)  • 

There are plenty of reasons to end your relationship. However, some couples continue living under the same roof even after separation. But why do people live together after separation? How does it happen?

Many factors like financial instability, medical issues, unemployment, the need to support children, or even money disputes can cause couples to live together even after separating. While some couples may agree to stay together for their children, others may not feel comfortable. If you are in a similar dilemma, this post is for you. This article explores the reasons couples may choose to live together after separation, the different types of separation, and the tips to make it work. Continue reading.

Separation And Divorce: What Is The Difference?

A separation is not the same as a divorce. Separation means you live apart from your spouse, but you are still legally married. However, legal separation recognizes your separated status and separation agreement. On the other hand, divorce is the complete dissolution of your marital status.

Many couples choose to stay together even after separation and divorce. There could be multiple reasons for that. Let’s take a look at them.

Reasons For Living Together After Separation

1. For The Sake Of The Kids

Think about the kids
Image: Shutterstock

Separation or divorce can be tough on the children. Often, couples choose to live together after separation for the sake of their children and family. They want to ensure a safe and happy environment for the child and save them from the emotional trauma of choosing between parents and juggling two households, which also makes time management difficult for everyone. However, to stay in such an arrangement, couples have to overcome the negative feelings, anger, and sadness. This is commonly referred to as “parenting marriage.”

protip_icon Quick Tip
It’s important to remember that kids should learn how to handle their emotional needs immediately. This keeps them from internalizing the bad emotions erupting from the disturbing situations around them.

2. Seeking Reconciliation

Couples are often hopeful of reconciliation and may choose to live together after separation to give the relationship another shot. Couples who opt for counseling also consider this a great arrangement. You can apply for a trial separation to understand what this situation entails and to help in coping with feelings. This gives you time to repair the marriage before you proceed with the divorce. It is always worth taking a shot if you can live peacefully with each other.

3. Buying Time

Buying yourself some time
Image: Shutterstock

Divorce proceedings are complicated and time-consuming. In the meantime, this arrangement works well for couples. They can also deal with issues and compromise on various details, such as finance, child custody, alimony, etc. A legal separation gives you time for communication and negotiation without any hard deadlines. You always have an option to work it out or make the separation permanent.

4. Financial Concerns

Managing two households, child support, legal issues regarding inheritance or property, mortgage, etc., can complicate matters. Some couples opt to live together even though they are separated to cut down the financial burden. Couples who are separated can still avail of medical insurance benefits under the same plan and support each other financially.

5. Emotional Support

Separation might be hard if you have been together for long. Hence, living together following a separation provides emotional support to both the partners. It gives you your space without making you feel lonely. You can vent about your emotions to each other and rely on each other to help ease the pain while figuring out the best foot forward.

If you and your spouse want a break from the relationship, you can opt for separation before taking the tough route ( read divorce). While it is best to consult a lawyer regarding such discussions, the next section gives you an idea about the types of separation you may opt for.

Different Types of Separation

Different types of separation
Image: Shutterstock

1. Trial Separation

This is a temporary phase where you and your partner live apart. A trial separation is best for couples who need time to decide on the future of their relationship. After the separation period is over, you can choose to live together and reconcile or go for permanent separation and divorce.

During the trial separation, you can go for an informal contract that addresses issues like expenses, shared parenting duties, and usage of bank accounts and credit cards. Since you are legally married, your finances and properties will come under joint ownership.

2. Permanent Separation

If your efforts for reconciliation have not worked out, permanent separation is the next step. While this does not mean you are divorced, the law recognizes your separation. This may change the property rights between you and your spouse. After permanent separation, you may no longer be entitled to your spouse’s income or possessions. Similarly, you cannot be held liable for any of your partner’s debts or loans.

3. Legal Separation

Couple filing for legal separation
Image: Shutterstock

You can apply for a legal separation in some states. This is a legal status where you are not married but not divorced either. Also, you cannot remarry if you apply for legal separation. However, just like a divorce, the court decides on the division of property, child support, custody, and alimony.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Before making the decision, review the insurance plan if you’re thinking about going through a legal separation instead of a divorce. This way, you can ensure you are keeping your insurance benefits. Unfortunately, some people equate a legal separation with a divorce and end up terminating their health coverage.

Couples opt for legal separation due to religious, political, or ideological differences but want to stay together for the sake of their kids. If you have decided to separate but live together, here are a few tips to make it easier for you.

Living Together After Separation: Tips To Make It Work

Tips to live together after separation
Image: Shutterstock

Here are a few tips for establishing ground rules and set clear boundaries to avoid complicating the situation:

  1. Avoid wearing wedding rings or any other symbolic adornments. This emphasizes the fact that you are no longer married and helps establish healthy boundaries and avoid confusion.
  2. Do not engage in romantic relationships. Sleep in different bedrooms and have your own personal space. You can also talk about living arrangements and demarcate the living or shared space, so you both have exclusive areas to yourselves.
  3. Share the household chores. You do not have to take responsibility for each other’s needs. You can cook separately, get separate groceries, and clean your part of the house. You can live like roommates – two individuals staying under one roof and sharing resources. Avoid doing chores for each other out of habit.
  4. Cut down on time you spend with each other unless you are co-parenting. Attend school events such as PTA or school games. Take the teacher into confidence and explain the situation to prevent any misunderstanding in the future.
  5. Avoid having meals together or going out if you have no intention of getting back together. Try not to attend family gatherings or parties as a couple. Special occasions such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and birthdays can be an exception, only if both are comfortable.
  6. Have separate budgets for household and personal expenses. Avoid pooling together personal expenses. This helps in setting clear financial boundaries.
  7. Limit socializing with mutual friends. You have your set of different friends and support systems.
  8. If you get back to dating, give a heads up to your partner. Be transparent but keep your private life private.
  9. Coordinate all the parenting activities with your partner. Make sure both of you follow up on your responsibilities so that the child is not neglected.
  10. Do not shout or have arguments in front of the children. Navigate difficult situations calmly and talk to each other. You can also take help from a counselor.
  11. Discuss ahead who you want to inform about your current living situation. Share information on a need-to-know basis to avoid complications. This holds true for friends, relatives, and acquaintances.

Martha Manning, a writer and clinical psychologist, shares her experience of living together with her ex-husband and how she navigated the situation through clear communication. She writes, “Without really articulating it, there was a silent sense that even though our marriage was over, it wasn’t too late for our relationship to change.” She continues, “Yeah, we should have done it a long time ago, and no, we were not getting back together in marriage, but our potential for connection- fireworks or apologies- is limitless (i).”

Infographic: Co-Parenting The Healthy Way

One of the reasons estranged couples come together is to be good parents to their children. Divorce and separation can affect the child’s overall well-being in various ways, and it becomes quite tough for them to adjust to the situation. However, the consequences can be cushioned if both the parents take active and conscious steps to be present through every stage of their children’s lives.

Check out the infographic below to know how to co-parent in a healthy way.

co-parenting the healthy way (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Save the high-quality PDF version on your device now.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

It is possible that you will have to live together following your divorce. Living together after a divorce is fraught with difficulties, and not everyone is okay with the idea. It is best to resolve conflicts peacefully if there is no other option and you choose to do so for your children and other obligations. Take notes from the article and talk about the options and ramifications with your friends and family before deciding. Also, evaluate the consequences. This will assist you in dealing with the problem maturely.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who gets to stay in the house during separation?

This depends on whose name is on the title deed. If one spouse’s name is on the title deed, the other spouse has the choice of staying or leaving the house. If both partners are joint tenants, then both partners can stay in the house. Both partners should have a conversation about this and be on the same page.

How long should a separation last?

Both spouses can discuss and agree to the duration of the separation. Ensure that both partners set clear emotional boundaries and discuss their financial arrangements during the separation.

Can separated couples marry?

Yes, separated couples can remarry. However, the legal requirements for marriage post-separation differ by state in the US.

Can you sleep with your husband while separated?

The answer to this question is dependent on the laws of the state or country where the separation is taking place, and the specific terms outline in the court order or agreement.

It is generally not a good idea to indulge in intimacy if you are reconsidering the relationship. If the separation happened due to severe reasons, it is better not to sleep together, as it can affect mental and emotional rationality and decision-making power.

Can living separately save a relationship?

Yes, living separately can help both parties to work on their issues. If both parties are committed to making the necessary changes and working with a therapist or marriage counselor, the marriage can be saved.

What are the disadvantages of living together?

When living together, it becomes difficult to find personal space to work through wavering emotions. Moreover, in such confused times, it is often frustrating to live with one’s separated partner, as it might not feel any different than being married.

Key Takeaways

  • If a child is involved in your separation, there are financial disputes in a relationship, or there are any other such reasons, you might still be living with your ex-partner after separation.
  • There are different types of separation: trial, permanent, and legal.
  • It is important to maintain boundaries while in separation to avoid complications.


Navigate the challenging terrain of living together while separated and learn effective strategies for controlling your emotions. Check out the video for practical insights and empowering techniques to foster harmony and emotional well-being.

Personal Experience: Source

Was this article helpful?
thumbsupthumbsdown
The following two tabs change content below.

Latest Articles