Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Friday, May 29, 2020

Multigenerational Housing

From the Atlantic:

Since the early days of the pandemic, I’ve been living with my in-laws in rural Connecticut. More recently, my husband’s sister and her nine-month-old son joined us. I’ve always tried to avoid the kind of multigenerational household I grew up in, but I’m finding the arrangement surprisingly satisfying.

In China, where I’m from, three or four generations commonly live together under one roof. At one point when I was a child, both my great-grandmother and grandmother resided with us. To say that I was over-parented is an understatement. To me, living with extended family just meant having more people in my business, complicating my decisions with their input and agenda. I ended up idealizing dwelling alone, needing and answering to no one.

Eventually, I came around to the idea of cohabiting with one other person, a trusted partner and confidant. But after getting married four years ago, I nervously put off having a baby. I couldn’t picture a scenario that didn’t seriously damage my career, bankrupt me with hired help, or trap me in the same apartment as my parents—as it is customary in China for family to move in to help offset the burden of new parenthood.

I will never know how my life would have played out in the pre-coronavirus world, however, because the pandemic completely reshuffled my options.

Read more here.

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