Apr 2, 2020

Living With Your Spouse During The Pandemic

As a seasoned divorce attorney and married man (33 years), the following are some thoughts and ideas about living together during these difficult times (Note:  this article is intended to be humorous). 

1) If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then proximity breeds contempt! Try to remember that this too shall pass.

2) Try physical separation by time of day and area of the house (aka war of the roses). For example: wife has exclusive possession of the family room from 9-12 a.m.; husband from 3-6; the  kitchen is a common area for sustenance only, not to exceed one hour; and it should go without saying that bathrooms are exclusive at all times. Think about Michael Douglas’ comment to his attorney Danny DeVito in War of the Roses:  “I got more square footage”.   

3) Consider limiting face to face conversations to only 2 or 3 within a 24 hour period, not to exceed 15 minutes each except for emergencies.

4) Define emergency as “anything you want or need”; or “anything that bothers you or annoys you to no limit”. 

5)  Make a game of the situation.  Consider points or perhaps monetary rewards for good deeds or kind comments. The receiver decides what merits a reward.  While this is hard to define, hopefully, since most couples are competitive, someone will be motivated to “win” (Note:  the money owed needs to be designated non- marital in writing in the event of a subsequent divorce.  Otherwise, what is the point?  It would merely be moving marital funds from one party to the other).  

6) If things get really out of control, try CBD oil now that it is legal.

7) Make lists of TV shows or movies.  Flip a coin to see who is first and then use alternate selection to decide what to watch. 

8) Designate a mediator to resolve disputes for #7 above.  Reserve the issue of which party pays for the mediation, which itself may be the subject of further mediation. 

9) Identify a time out for the other side.  Like an NBA game, perhaps 3 during the day and 2 at night, not cumulative and no carry over to the next day.  A time out should require the other spouse to go to a designated room without any cell phone, tv, lap top or kindle for 20 minutes.  If you really want to get harsh, “no talking”, even to themselves.

10)  While most of these are just myself kidding around, I hope any one of them cause the reader to at least smile or grin.  During these difficult times, we all need some humor.   

Stay tuned for further advice and suggestions from the family law attorneys at Schiller DuCanto & Fleck LLP. 

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