Living across the street from your ex may not work for everyone, but families can benefit when it does.
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Kim and Kanye West wearing sunglasses at basketball game
Credit: Getty

The internet is divided following the latest news that Kanye West bought the home across the street from Kim Kardashian. Speaking from first-hand experience, I can see why people think it's a little…unconventional. Last year, my ex-husband bought a home three doors down from the one I purchased following our divorce, and what I can honestly say now is that it's a good problem to have.

On Monday, news of Kanye's real estate purchase broke along with claims that he decided to buy the property across from Kim so that he can be as near to their kids as possible in the wake of the couple's widely publicized split. The couple, who were married for six years, have four children together—seven-year-old daughter North, five-year-old son Saint, three-year-old daughter Chicago, and two-year-old son Psalm.

Commenters on social media are weighing in on whether or not Kanye's purchase crosses one of the many already-murky boundaries that come with co-parenting after divorce. While many people see Kanye's real estate decision as nothing more than an act of love for his children, others feel that the location of the home is truly too close for comfort. No one is wrong, per se; this is a gray area many divorced families face.

When my ex-husband told me that he'd just bought the house three doors down the street from me with his girlfriend and her daughter, he was admittedly nervous. And for good reason. Our relationship post-divorce was, and still is, a little rocky. However, when he told me the news, I was ecstatic that my kids would be my neighbors when they weren't with me, as weird as that sounds. Yes, I felt very uncomfortable with the fact that my ex-husband's "happily ever after" was essentially going to play out right before my eyes. But at the same time, I was happy that my kids wouldn't be far away from me when they were away from me. 

We knew it was going to be a challenge on several levels but we both believed it would be the best thing for our kids. And as it turns out, we're not the only co-parents leaning into trends that benefit the kids first and foremost.

With the United States divorce rate at roughly 50% in 2021, families everywhere are finding new and unconventional ways to co-parent. Credit goes to Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin whose concept of "conscious uncoupling" inspired alternate ways of looking at divorce from a family standpoint. Many rolled their eyes at the term the couple used when they announced their own split in 2014, but now, six years later, divorced couples seem committed to finding new ways to be a family.

Simply put: We aren't doing divorce the way our parents did divorce. For many couples, the "Wednesday night dinners and every other weekend with Dad" is no longer the norm. Take "birdnesting" for example. This co-parenting trend, where the divorced parents take turns living in the residential home to prevent their children from having to routinely relocate, has been on the rise in recent years. Another popular co-parenting trend is to split time with the kids evenly with a 50/50 joint custody schedule. Some separated couples can't relocate at all because of finances so divorced parents are forced to find ways to coexist amicably under the same roof. It all depends on what works best for each individual family these days, and that's pretty awesome if you ask me.

So, yes, my ex-husband buying a home three doors down from me, and Kanye buying a home across the street from Kim is a little weird, but it's mostly weird because it isn't the norm. Yet. Whether or not it becomes the norm remains to be seen, but the bright spot in all of this is that it suggests divorced families are committed to doing what's best for their kids once it's clear that they're going to have to create a new family reality for themselves.

Will there be uncomfortable run-ins at the end of the driveway from time to time? Yep. Will Kanye likely feel hurt some day when he sees his kids playing with another man and father figure? Definitely. Will there need to be clearly communicated boundaries that protect and benefit everyone involved? Absolutely. Will it work in the long run? It can. When divorcees move forward with a combined goal of doing what's in the best interest of their kids, it can work. And there's nothing weird about that.