If you live in the UK and are in the process of getting a divorce yet you and your spouse have to reside under the same roof, then there are certain steps you should take in order to make this arrangement amicable.

Step 1 – Try to agree on how your day-to-day living arrangements will work.

This is important so that neither of you do anything which, aggravates the situation. For example, decide where each partner is going to sleep, work and relax. The aim is not necessarily to stay out of each other’s way, but to avoid the time where conflict is most likely.

Step 2 – Decide between you both who will be responsible for settling bills and doing household tasks.

It may be the case that you have now separated your finances, therefore you must have an agreement in place to establish where to money for bills is going to come from. Everyday chores should be divided and both partners should resist relying on one another for food or care.

Step 3 – Quite important is the care of any children involved.

You should avoid a conflicted atmosphere at all costs when you have children living at home. Where children form a part of your daily life it often becomes inappropriate to begin separating everything in your day-to-day life. For example, although it may be necessary to sleep in separate rooms, separate dinners and relaxing arrangements may be disruptive to the children. However, the most important thing is to not reflect your feelings about your partner or the stress of the divorce on to their lives.

Step 4 – Arrangements for selling the matrimonial home.

Where necessary, try to establish a plan for selling your property. This will mean using agents and working with legal representatives together in order to get the best possible price for the property. If the property is being viewed, then ensure that either your or your partner is available to tidy the internal accommodation and show people around.

Step 5 – Agree on what is acceptable and unacceptable social behaviour from both of you.

An example of this would be where your partner works shifts and you should try to have respect for their sleeping arrangements. It may be a good idea to agree on what happens if one or the other finds another partner, for example that it may not be acceptable to bring that person back to the shared home.

If you both cannot agree of some of or even all of the above issues, then mediation is a good process to begin with in order to try to reach an amicable starting point. Mediation is a discussion process that uses an independent person between both parties to help reach agreement. Both partners will have an opportunity to voice exactly what they want and what their personal concerns with the arrangements are. The mediator will use this information to help the parties reach amicable grounds, which, are then enforced by mutual agreement. An unbiased, independent mind can see both sides of the conflict and resentment felt by the parties involved.

You may feel that it is appropriate to consider a prenuptial agreement if you are planning on marriage, or if you are wanting to live together without marrying then a cohabitation agreement – both cohabitation and prenuptial agreements set out how a couple will divide their property in the event that their relationship fails. 

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