Married, but Separated, Under the Same Roof: Protecting Your Rights in a de Blasio-type Setup
Despite being out of office for more than two years, former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio got a great deal of attention when he announced his separation from Chirlane McCray, his wife of 29 years. Though breakups among the famous are common, the terms of the de Blasio-McCray split differ from those of most couples.
In a statement, de Blasio and McCray announced that they will both continue to live in their family home despite ending their romantic relationship. This type of setup seems prone to awkward moments, but there are several reasons why a married couple might stay in the same residence despite obtaining a legal separation. High real estate prices could make finding a new home difficult or a couple might decide to stay put to continue raising their children together.
If you’re considering obtaining a legal separation but remaining in the same home as your husband or wife, here are some steps you should take:
- Have a seasoned attorney negotiate on your behalf — No matter how amicable your relationship appears to be, negotiating a fair separation agreement is a complex task that requires the assistance of a seasoned family law attorney. Establishing appropriate terms addressing parenting and financial matters is particularly vital when you and your spouse are seeing each other every day.
- Prepare a comprehensive plan for dealing with home expenses — Usually, a legal separation is the point where spouses unwind their financial ties. Assets acquired no longer go into the marital estate, the parties maintain separate bank accounts and the higher-earning party might be required to provide maintenance payments. However, sharing a residence means that a wide array of expenses might have to be shared as well. You might agree to split the cost of necessary plumbing work, but what about upkeep for a pool or treadmill that one spouse uses much more than the other? These decisions should be made before starting your new arrangement.
- Review your situation periodically — At the outset of separation under the same roof, the parties might presume that they’ll be able to overcome emotional conflicts that can arise when they see their ex dating new people. Unfortunately, good intentions sometimes don’t pan out in the real world, and the living situation could become unbearable. It might not be long before separate living arrangements, or a divorce filing, seem like the better option.
Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. represents Long Island spouses in all types of divorce and legal separation proceedings. Whether your situation is fairly straightforward or you are seeking a unique family law solution, our experienced New York attorneys can help. Please call 1.631.479.3839 or contact us online for an appointment.