“Cohabiting has spiked because people just can’t afford to move out. They can’t afford to buy themselves out [of the house],” notes Kathyrn Dickerson, partner at Smolen Plevy in Vienna, Va. “You used to be able to refinance a mortgage more easily, but not any longer.” In some cases, she says the value of a house is “under water” (when the value of the home falls beneath the value of the mortgage) and there’s simply no equity to divide. “The question is who will take what debt,” Dickerson says.
Gund and her husband signed a legal separation agreement in March (2008) and continue living together. The agreement details the percentage of the living and childcare expenses each partner must pay. The couple also agreed not to bring dates home. In the state of New York where Gund lives, the legal separation agreement becomes the divorce agreement so in March 2009, she will be divorced. She plans to put the house up for sale just prior to that.