LES ECHOS

Living Together Apart: When Divorce Makes It Too Expensive To Move Out

As a consequence of the bad economy and high real estate prices, more and more couples continue to share the same home, even after they divorce.

Living on the wife's couch (Plutor)
Living on the wife's couch (Plutor)
Catherine Rollot

PARIS - Some take over the couch or sleep in the guestroom; others still share the conjugal bed, albeit in an icy atmosphere. As divorce has gone mainstream, more and more separated couples continue to live under the same roof, at least temporarily.

The bad economy, the high cost of real estate and fear of a social downgrade has made the financial cost of separations even harder to bear. These forced cohabitations are still the exception, but could become more common as long-term economy problems grow.

As this new trend is often concealed, it's difficult to quantify it. But what is sure is that it comes from the U.S., where it's called "living together apart" and mostly affects the poor. "In poor neighborhoods, studies reveal that the lack of financial resources is the main reason for these arrangements," explains sociologist Claude Martin, research director at the French CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research).

"In the U.S., this involuntary cohabitation is sometimes the only way to avoid an even worse situation- like being forced into homelessness. It allows to save money and maintain a link between parents and children," he adds. An estimated 10% of impoverished families are concerned by this phenomenon, which increased during the subprime mortgage crisis.

Too expensive to divorce

Claude Martin tried to understand if the same explanations applied in France. In spite of a very different sample group – middle class couples in majority – he came to the same conclusion: the fear of financial consequences following a divorce. "The aftermath of a separation is too expensive for many French couples. So they stay together because they can't find a new house or because they don't want to divide up what they had bought together," Claude Martin explains.

Every day, Benoît Delesalle, a Parisian notary, sees divorcing couples who are just realizing how much their separation will cost them: "A few days ago, I had a couple who was in the middle of a crisis. They wanted advice on how to make ends meet in case of separation. They left my office saying they were going to rethink about divorcing."

Benoît Delesalle's colleague Christelle Dewailly, confirms another trend: "Since the increase of the "asset division tax," many people have postponed or cancelled their separation." This tax is collected by the State after a divorce, when the former married couple shares his assets. It rose from 1.1 % to 2.5 % on January 1st of this year. In addition to notary's charges, the asset division tax weighs heavily on the divorce bill and in some cases, also delays the emotional separation.

The real estate market isn't helping

According to sociologist Sylvie Cadolle, "the high cost of real estate explains why separations are more complicated nowadays than 40 years ago." "When there are children involved and that the parents need to find two apartments close to each other to prevent the children from being uprooted, life becomes more complicated – and even more if there isn't a high budget," adds Bernard Cadeau, CEO of the Orpi real estate agencies network.

Selling a home can also be a difficult feat, which also explains that some couples have to postpone their physical separation. "Since a few months now, it takes 10% more time to sell a home," Bernard Cadeau explains. And even if the average time to sell a home is three months, it sometimes needs much more time to find a buyer, particularly if the price does not match the market. "Sometimes, there are disagreements within the couple on the price at which the house should be sold or on the sale strategy and it paralyses the process."

If financial issues render separations more difficult, they aren't preventing people from getting divorced. The number of divorces has constantly increased since the 1960s – 130,900 cases in 2011 – without counting separations and civil unions.

Other reasons can also postpone a separation: "The need to protect the children or the hope of a reconciliation can also explain these living together apart cases," explains Claude Martin. Nonetheless, these couples need to respect each other or else the cohabitation is doomed to failure.

Read the original article in French

Photo - Plutor

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Pro-life and Pro-abortion Rights Protests in Washington

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Håfa adai!*

Welcome to Thursday, where new Omicron findings arrive from South Africa, abortion rights are at risk at the U.S. Supreme Court and Tyrannosaurus rex has got some new competition. From Germany, we share the story of a landmark pharmacy turned sex toy museum.

[*Chamorro - Guam]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• COVID update: South Africa reports a higher rate of reinfections from the Omicron variant than has been registered with the Beta and Delta variants, though researchers await further findings on the effects of the new strain. Meanwhile, the UK approves the use of a monoclonal therapy, known as sotrovimab, to treat those at high risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms.The approval comes as the British pharmaceutical company, GSK, separately announced the treatment has shown to “retain activity” against the Omicron variant. Down under, New Zealand’s reopening, slated for tomorrow is being criticized as posing risks to its under-vaccinated indigenous Maori.

• Supreme Court poised to gut abortion rights: The U.S. Supreme Court signaled a willingness to accept a Republican-backed Mississippi law that would bar abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, even in cases of rape or incest. A ruling, expected in June, may see millions of women lose abortion access, 50 years after it was recognized as a constitutional right in the landmark Roe v. Wade case.

• Macri charged in Argentine spying case: Argentina’s former president Mauricio Macri has been charged with ordering the secret services to spy on the family members of 44 sailors who died in a navy submarine sinking in 2017. The charge carries a sentence of three to ten years in prison. Macri, now an opposition leader, says the charges are politically motivated.

• WTA suspends China tournaments over Peng Shuai: The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) announced the immediate suspension of all tournaments in China due to concerns about the well-being of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, and the safety of other players. Peng disappeared from public view after accusing a top Chinese official of sexual assault.

• Michigan school shooting suspect to be charged as an adult: The 15-year-old student accused of killing four of his classmates and wounding seven other people in a Michigan High School will face charges of terrorism and first-degree murder. Authorities say the suspect had described wanting to attack the school in cellphone videos and a journal.

• Turkey replaces finance minister amid economic turmoil: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan appointed a strong supporter of his low-interest rate drive, Nureddin Nebati, as Turkey’s new finance minister.

• A battle axe for a tail: Chilean researchers announced the discovery of a newly identified dinosaur species with a completely unique feature from any other creatures that lived at that time: a flat, weaponized tail resembling a battle axe.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

South Korean daily Joong-ang Ilbo reports on the discovery of five Omicron cases in South Korea. The Asian nation has broken its daily record for overall coronavirus infections for a second day in a row with more than 5,200 new cases. The variant cases were linked to arrivals from Nigeria and prompted the government to tighten border controls.


#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

¥10,000

In the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin, a reward of 10,000 yuan ($1,570) will be given to anyone who volunteers to take a COVID-19 test and get a positive result, local authorities announced on Thursday on the social network app WeChat.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Why an iconic pharmacy is turning into a sex toy museum

The "New Pharmacy" was famous throughout the St. Pauli district of Hamburg for its history and its long-serving owner. Now the owner’s daughter is transforming it into a museum dedicated to the history of sex toys, linking it with the past "curing" purpose of the shop, reports Eva Eusterhus in German daily Die Welt.

💊 The story begins in autumn 2018, when 83-year-old Regis Genger stood at the counter of her pharmacy and realized that the time had come for her to retire. At least that is the first thing her daughter Anna Genger tells us when we meet, describing the turning point that has also shaped her life and that of her business partner Bianca Müllner. The two women want to create something new here, something that reflects the pharmacy's history and Hamburg's eclectic St. Pauli quarter (it houses both a red light district and the iconic Reeperbahn entertainment area) as well as their own interests.

🚨 Over the last few months, the pharmacy has been transformed into L'Apotheque, a venture that brings together art and business in St. Pauli's red light district. The back rooms will be used for art exhibitions, while the old pharmacy space will house a museum dedicated to the history of sex toys. Genger and Müllner want to show that desire has always existed and that people have always found inventive ways of maximizing pleasure, even in times when self-gratification was seen as unnatural and immoral, as a cause of deformities.

🏩 Genger and Müllner want the museum to show how the history of desire has changed over time. The art exhibitions, which will also center on the themes of physicality and sexuality, are intended to complement the exhibits. They are planning to put on window displays to give passers-by a taste of what is to come, for example, British artist Bronwen Parker-Rhodes's film Lovers, which offers a portrait of sex workers during lockdown.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them. Never.

— U.S. actor Alec Baldwin spoke to ABC News, his first interview since the accident that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie Rust last October. The actor said that although he was holding the gun he didn’t pull the trigger, adding that the bullet “wasn't even supposed to be on the property.”

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet and Jane Herbelin

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