How Does “Living Like Roommates” Impact a Divorce?
Much has been written about the damage that can occur in a marriage when couples start living like roommates rather than true spouses. Basically, that means coming and going as you please, treating your home more as a place to flop, and failing to prioritize your spouse as your most important relationship. In retrospect, it’s easy to see how such behavior could have led to your divorce, but now that you are going through a divorce, what are you likely to find? Your surprises could include:
- Extramarital affairs — If your love life has suffered for some time, there is always the chance your spouse is cheating or has cheated. However, wives may have to worry whether there isn’t more than just another woman. There could be a whole other family.
- Wasteful dissipation — If your spouse spends time outside the marriage, he or she is probably spending money as well. Cash can go to more than drinks with friends. Gifts to girlfriends or boyfriends, gambling losses, pie-in-the-sky investments and frivolous luxuries can deplete your marital assets. In legal terms, this is wasteful dissipation, and you may be entitled to recover such losses, if you can prove them, during the equitable distribution process.
- Debt — Out-of-control spending often leads to secret debt. Your spouse may have taken out and maxed out a few credit cards. Are you partly liable for this debt? Ideally, no, but if your spouse took cash advances or used the cards for items that could arguably be for your benefit, you could have a hard time proving this is your spouse’s separate, personal debt.
Fortunately, the silver lining to a failed “roommate marriage” is the comparative ease of agreeing to a roommate divorce. If you’ve really just been going through the motions, there’s usually not enough passion for fierce litigation. Still, you need to dissolve your marriage on favorable terms, and that may mean resolving the financial mess created by living separate lives under the same roof.
Although couples often have to litigate complex finances, couples who are in debt can really benefit from divorce mediation. This cooperative process helps keep legal expenses in check, so an indebted spouse is likely to concede liability for personal debts rather than incur additional legal costs in litigation.
To learn how Solutions Divorce Mediation, Inc. can help you resolve debt issues, call us at 1.631.683.8172 or contact our Long Island office online.