I believe that where your ex lives and where you live after divorce has a significant influence on how your children will adapt to your shared custody arrangement. Lauren of My Life Incomplete wrote in two homes about how the 50/50 physical custody arrangement means constant moving. C of Leap and the Net with Appear also wrote about how multiple demands (her ex, her boyfriend, her school, her children’s school) mean she’s not free to live where she’d choose and is caught going round in circles.
Candace put a great deal of effort into creating a home after divorce, carefully selecting the house to ensure it’s design would be conducive to her and her children. That’s worked out especially well since her ex is also a neighbor. That’s not a situation that would work for many people but it works for Candace and here’s her perspective:
My ex and I are on good terms. When a house that was two doors down from my house became available for rent, I told him about it because he was looking for a place and he moved in. I think having a house between us is perfect. It’s a good buffer.
I still supervise my kids going back and forth but the shift is very gentle for them. It makes moving between their two worlds easy. We were on a 50/50 parenting schedule but he now has a job where his hours are all over the place so we’re just flowing with schedule right now. There are times when one of us makes a big dinner in the crock pot and sends it over for dinner. It’s kind of like community housing without having to actually share a living space which became something unsustainable for both of us.
Before this we didn’t live to close to each other. We lived in the same town but not on the same street and I think it was harder for the kids. I am moving soon to a bigger house, more property. Right now my house is about 13oo square feet and it’s OK for one person and two little kids but now I have a partner and her two dogs. My ex’s place is a month-to-month rental and he loves the neighborhood we’re looking at so he very well may follow.
The Divorce Coach Says
I have some admiration for any couple who can make this arrangement work. I can see where it would make life super easy for the children but I can’t see it working for me and I know now that my needs can be a priority. My ex has even asked me about it since there are a couple of houses on my street for sale. It’s hard for me give specific reasons other than it would make me very uncomfortable. We get along OK but I like to keep him at a distance and the physical distance between us right now facilitates that. I respect him for asking for my opinion and I’m glad he’s hasn’t ignored my wishes. If he wanted to, I doubt I could legally stop him.
Being neighbors doesn’t work out for everyone. I know this isn’t quite the same as your ex moving in next door on his own but how would you feel if your ex was dating your neighbor and you had to walk past your neighbor’s to get to your house? Well, it happened to Chandi at Italian Dreams and it didn’t do much to help her divorce recovery.
Would you be OK with your ex living next door to you? On the same street?