Home is where your heart is…

Figuring out the living arrangements post separation is quite emotional. They say that home is where the heart is, however what happens when your heart is broken?

What happens when all your dreams of creating a family are now fractured?

Your “Home” is unstable or at risk to be taken away. The place you used to come home to for refuge, your “Happy” place (for many) is now at jeopardy because of separation/divorce. Money limits most of us from moving on faster than we would like in some situations, so we end up in less than ideal situations due to financial constraints.

Common “Scenarios” Post-Separation:

There are so many scenarios people find themselves in post separation. Some:

  1. Live together separated under the one roof (mostly by sheer financial situations that prevent one from moving on, or perhaps it is an interim plan for transitioning out of the family life).
  2. One may remain in the family home while the other gets a new place (closest to ideal situation in my perspective).
  3. Both may sell their home and respectively move in with family
  4. One may move in with the 3rd party in the relationship while the other endures the heart break of being in the family home for the greater good of their kids! (ok so this maybe rare BUT it does happen, it was my situation)
  5. Bird-nesting maybe an option, this scenario is where you keep the family home and rent/buy a separate apartment. Each parent takes turns in and out of the family home. The kids do not need to move between homes because the parents do all the to/fro’ing.
  6. Some are left almost homeless looking for a home (especially in cases where DV are involved).

For most of us 1-5 would be the options we consider, rental sites such as realestate.com.au or domain.com.au will help you either find a rental or properties to buy.

Co-Existing under the SAME Roof Separated:

This situation can be beyond anything you can imagine. Obviously, most of us end up in this scenario because of a sheer lack of options! Let’s hope for your sake it is a plan for the short term! Some lucky couples can co-exist and have a mutual respect that works, but I think it is safe to say that those situations are RARE! Some end up having to stay under the same roof with their abusers, cheating partners, alcoholics, and a myriad of other profiles. My situation meant that we agreed to co-exist until our paperwork was done. This period lasted approximately 4 months and ended the day before my birthday! Feeling empowered I announced that the paper work was done, signed and delivered. And just like that he was GONE!

Of-course, I was devastated and relieved at the same time. This was my beginning as ME, my new life! This situation would work better if both parties mutually agreed on the rules of co-existing while disengaging! Who am I kidding?!
Separation Australia

Some move in with FAMILY!:

I did not have to endure this scenario, but some do. You do what you need to do. The benefit is that you are not alone, you have “some” support (sometimes there is a cost that may be emotional/financial) but it may actually help to have the even sometimes help. The help I had in my situation was mostly paid, with the exception of 2 hours a week from family, and a few days during school holidays, oh and the obligatory ex’s every 2nd weekend.

If moving in with family is your situation, then perhaps sitting down with the family and setting up expectations and being clear on what you need may help. We asked Robyn for tips on her own experience moving in with her mum post separation with her two young boys. Robyn who moved back home with her mum post separation, suggests “Living with family is a safe place to be,  there is a lot of love but it has its challenges”. 

What happens when you no longer have a home?


For the people that are experiencing number 6, there are a few housing support options to assess. Our FREE separations HOT links document lists quite a few support services that help families find a home in emergency situations. This link for WIRE Victoria is definitely worth a look at, if you are in Victoria needing help. It reviews quite a few options such as emergency housing, transitional housing, public housing, private rentals, and dives into what services are available. This information was totally new to me and I hope this helps you! The numbers according to the Australian Institute of health and welfare are alarming: “Waitlists for Social Houseing remain long, with  189, 400 households awaiting social housing allocation at 30 June 2017”*Australian Institute of Housing and Welfare

The term ‘social housing’ can sometimes be confusing—it includes both public housing and community housing options as explained below*

*Wire Victoria

This guide on the WIRE website also helps differentiate each type stating the following:

Public Housing:

“Public housing is provided by Department of Human Services—Office of Housing at an affordable rent that is calculated as a percentage of household income. Waiting lists in Victoria are very long, which means that public housing is certainly not the way to solve your immediate housing crisis.”

Community Housing:

Community housing is provided through non-government and not-for-profit organisations in Victoria. These organisations include housing associations and housing providers. Rental assistance is also available in the form of Centrelink and Bond assistance for people applying for private rentals (each scheme has eligibility requirements so contact each office for more info). In Victoria, The Tenants Union of Victoria offers an online factsheet at www.tuv.org.au/articles/files/resources/AL_applying_for_private_rental.pdf please see online for other states.

Whatever your circumstances, you are most likely going through a myriad of emotions and feelings of disbelief that your life is here. Taking care of yourself should be a priority for the benefit of any kids that you may have. Reach out to those around you!

Support for Kids during a move:

During this transition the kids can be impacted immensely. The displacement affects all of us, however here are some suggested reading for your kids to help explain the two-home setup.

  • “Two Homes” by Claire Masurel as recommended by FDR Mediator & Child Consultant Renee Fedele
  • It’s just different now by Linda Espie
  • The suitcase kid by Jacqueline Wilson

Home IS where the heart is, but during the tough transition period all we can do is our best to diffuse the impacts the best we can. Ride the storm and take each day as they come and allow yourself the days to just be sad sometimes, then shake it off and keep moving forward! For me HOME was wherever my kids were, and as long as I had them, I was HOME!

Apart from our Separation HOT links, here are a few national housing links that maybe helpful:

ABOUT the Blogger:

My name is Anju, after going through a “surprise” separation and divorce was a rebirth which awakened me!

After a period of sadness and struggle, revealed a person who was forced to sort her shi# out and find the strength needed to raise 2 young kids without a partner!

And so, a new journey began with new dreams: www.TheSeparationExchange.com


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