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How to separate from your husband in same house

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Separating from a husband or wife is never easy, but it is particularly hard if you have to continue to live together in the family home. That may be because of Covid-19 or for financial reasons or because you are waiting for the sale of the family home. In this blog we look at the topic of separation and separating from a husband whilst living together in the same house.

Online divorce and financial settlement solicitors

London based online family law solicitors at OTS Solicitors can advise on how on your divorce, child care and custody arrangements and your best financial settlement options. For divorce, financial settlement or family law advice call us on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form  to arrange a Skype, video conference or telephone appointment.

Separating but staying together

Once you have taken the decision to separate it can seem odd for nothing to happen because you are continuing to live together at the family home. The decision to stay together in the family home can be made for a whole host of reasons, some positive and some negative. If you have children with your partner it can be difficult to decide when to let the children know that you have taken the decision to separate. Some parents think that there is no need to tell the children as the status quo hasn’t changed and that the telling the children will just upset and confuse them. However, children can pick up on a vibe and realise that something is wrong. Alternatively, if they don’t get told by you they may hear the news inadvertently from relatives or from the children of family friends.

In an ideal world, if you are staying together at the family home, it is best to tell the children together about the decision to separate. You probably won't be able to answer all their questions, for example, on when the family home will be sold or if you can get to stay there, what the contact arrangements will be in future etc. That’s because so much may depend on how the financial matters work out. When it comes to contact you may not want to set out a specific timetable for contact as what is practicable may depend on where your husband moves to or how flexible his employers are over mid-week contact.

Can you live together and start divorce proceedings?

Most separated couples think that you have to physically separate before you can start divorce proceedings but that isn’t right. You can live together at the family home and start divorce proceedings provided that you live ‘separate and apart’. In essence that means leading separate lives so not sleeping together, cooking for one another or doing the other’s laundry etc. That can be very tough if you have children in the household and you are trying to keep things friendly for the children’s sake so that they don’t sense an atmosphere. If you can live separate and apart then the advantage is that you can get on with the divorce proceedings.

Dividing a house to live separately

Some couples want to divide their house whilst living together but separated. This isn’t strictly necessary but you can divide the house so one of you uses the dining room as your lounge or you can agree on kitchen use times so that you can stay out of the other’s way. If things aren’t very amicable it can help to have ‘house rules’, such as no overnight guests without the other person’s agreement. That’s because having a sibling or parent to stay could be intimidating to your partner.

What happens if living together doesn’t work out?

Prior to your deciding to live together whilst you are separating it is best to take legal advice as sometimes living together just isn’t suitable. For example, if there has been a history of domestic violence or financial coercion or emotional abuse. If your husband refuses to leave the family home then you may have the option of applying for an occupation order or a non-molestation order. These are both types of injunction order. If domestic violence occurs whilst you are separated but living together you can still apply for an injunction order.

How do we pay the bills on the family home if we are separated but living together?

The question ‘How do we pay the bills on the family home if we are separated but living together?’ is really down to what works best for you as a family. For example:

  • If your separation is amicable and you trust one another on financial matters then you could continue to operate a joint account and pay the bills out of that as you would normally do
  • If you have a joint account you could both open up sole bank accounts and transfer personal direct debits and payments and your salaries to your own personal accounts leaving the joint account just for payment of the mortgage, gas, water and other essential household bills. You would need to agree on how much you would both need to pay into the joint account to cover the essential bills
  • One of you could take over responsibility for all the bills on the house but this could be in consideration for getting child support and spousal maintenance to enable you to do this.

The solution that works for you and your family may depend on your current arrangements, trust issues and how long you envisage that you will be living together for. Remember that if utility bills are in your name and they are not paid then this may affect your credit rating.

Is living together whilst separated worth it?

Sometimes the costs that you will save in staying together, for example, in not renting a flat or avoiding the hassle of you or your husband having to move in with family, just don’t seem worth it. However, before you take the decision to move out it is best to speak to a divorce solicitor. That’s because if you leave your husband in the family home on his own he may have no incentive to get the house sold or no incentive to raise the cash to give you your share of the equity. Sometimes spouses will even try to thwart a sale of the family home by not doing the garden or leaving things in obvious disrepair. It is therefore sometimes better to stay together as ultimately that way you may get your money or achieve a house sale quicker.

Online divorce and financial settlement solicitors

The specialist family lawyers at OTS Solicitors  work remotely using the latest secure technology to advise on separation as well as to start divorce or children court proceedings, or to secure financial settlements by negotiation, financial court proceedings, mediation or arbitration. If you need advice about your separation and starting divorce proceedings or help with any other aspect of family law call London based OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form. We will set up a video conference, Skype or telephone appointment for you with one of our friendly and experienced family law solicitors.

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