Some divorced couples are being forced to live together in a difficult housing market that makes finding another place to live harder than it has been in years, according to The Wall Street Journal.
"Many don’t tell colleagues about the set up because it seems unthinkable or they are embarrassed," the Journal wrote. "They try to maintain civility for the kids and hold tight until they can afford to buy, rent and furnish two homes."
One estranged couple, "Danielle Tantone and her soon-to-be ex-husband, Michael Tantone, bought their Mesa, Ariz., area home in July 2022 with a mortgage of about $600,000 that carried an interest rate of 5.62%," the paper reported. "Both planned to refinance when mortgage rates fell."
"Instead, they are divorcing and saddled with a house that has fallen in value and that neither can afford on their own," the Journal wrote.
"It’s currently worth less than we paid for it, so we are forced to short sell," Danielle told the Journal.
The difficulty of finding another home has also dissuaded some couples from actually filing and making the divorce official, according to article. Some common reasons that couples hold back on filing for divorce officially is "because of uncertainties about jobs, and added expenses of setting up two households, on top of credit-card debt and student loans they might have."
Homes are a particularly thorny issue in divorces because it is "often a couple’s main asset," the outlet explained. "Typically, couples sell the home and split the proceeds or one spouse refinances the mortgage and buys out the other spouse’s interest. But with average mortgage rates at 20-year highs, it can be harder to sell or refinance."
One woman, Marilyn Maycock, said that she decided to "refinance her home" despite having to pay out a "6.45% rate—well above the previous 3.5% rate—to buy out her husband’s interest."
But some estranged couples are left trying to take care of their families and hold together a broken relationship.
"We are working on what some days feels like the impossible: cohabiting and co-parenting in a 1,200-square-foot home," one woman said.
Liza Caldwell, co-founder of a coaching business for divorcees, told the Journal that couples need to create new house rules to show that the relationship has changed.
"If you can’t stay married and you can’t leave, you can create a new set of rules to symbolize that things are not the same," Caldwell said.