The Do’s and Don’ts of Cohabitation for Divorced Couples

Under certain circumstances, a couple may decide to cohabitate even after divorce. To make the situation work, strict lines must be drawn between both parties. Furthermore, an agreement should be established after the divorce, or as part of the Divorce Decree, to outline expectations and guidelines for this continued relationship. These do’s and don’ts of cohabitation for divorced couples provide a few tips.

Do’s for Cohabitation After Divorce

  • Do Discuss Reasons for Cohabitation: Couples cohabitate after divorce for numerous reasons. Sometimes it’s because budgets are lean, other times it is for the children. Regardless, you must identify the reasons so that you can craft timelines and expectations that accommodate those reasons.
  • Do Stay in Communication: Living in the same house and ignoring each other’s existence does not work. Instead, you must be willing to communicate and live with your children – even if you have separate rooms.
  • Do Sign an Agreement: A divorce attorney can draft a cohabitation agreement that you and your ex sign. The agreement outlines everything from behavior to finances and property.
  • Do Be Realistic: While you might share a home, you divorced for a reason. Never agree to a cohabitation agreement if you are doing so in hopes the divorce reverses itself.
  • Do Decide on a Budget and Payment Arrangement: Who will pay what expenses? A strict budget and payment agreement must be in writing.

Don’ts for Cohabitation After Divorce

  • Don’t Set a Long Timeframe: In your cohabitation agreement, set a timetable for when you will reassess and renew. However, do not put it too far out – like ten years. Instead, consider reviewing every six months to a year.
  • Don’t Forget to Consider the Kids: While you might assume living together is best for the children, it could worsen the situation. So, consider the long-term effects of cohabitation.
  • Don’t Forget the “What If” Possibilities: One of you might meet someone and start a relationship, but what are the rules? Can your ex have his or her partner over? What if one of the former spouses wants to cancel the agreement and move out? Be sure to have a plan in place to address these possibilities.

Bottom line, cohabitation is great in some cases and disastrous in others. Before entering such an arrangement, consult a divorce attorney at Udall Shumway, PLC and have an agreement drafted.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Cohabitation for Divorced Couples, or any other family law issue, please feel free to contact Sheri D. Shepard at 480.461.5300, log on to, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.