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    “Separated” Married Couples

    By Kristen Houghton     

    We have all known couples whose marriages are basically over but, who, for the sake of their children, stayed together. They were not legally separated and they were willing to forego a divorce to stay together as a family unit.

    But there is a growing trend in the 2000’s whereby couples with no children or grown children, live separate lives but choose to live in the same house. Like roommates they share expenses, shopping, and chores. Unlike roommates they own property together, have joint assets, and bank accounts in common. To all intents and purposes their physical marriages are over but their financial affairs are still married.

    Why do these couples stay together if they are legally separated? The answer is purely practical. Many have built mini-empires together. Besides their main house they may also own a summer home and rental property. A legal divorce would cost them financially. Properties would have to be sold and assets divided. They see living as house mates a practical, savvy venture. A woman in her fifties said:

    “We were married thirty years before we decided to live separate lives. I was all for a divorce and so was he but our accountant gave us two financial scenarios. Divorced, we would lose money. By staying together, we got to keep more of our funds and our health insurance coverage as a married couple. Tax breaks for married people certainly beat those for singles. We’re also looking at the long-term situation with pensions and retirement. Do we lead separate lives? We live in different sections of the house and have separate keys. That says it all.”

    Another couple told me they stay together because they have a business and financial dealings that would suffer if they got a divorce. They live together and share everything but intimacy. In a way they’re a lot like college dorm mates. Privacy is highly respected.

    Therapist Melissa Martirano says separated couples living together is a lot more common than anyone realizes.

    “In the past couples who no longer had anything left in their relationships stayed together for financial security. They were miserable but they literally had no choice. Today’s couples choose to live together because they are money-wise and practical. Each partner is certainly able to support themselves, but they want it all and refuse to jeopardize extensive financial holdings. Surprisingly, this set-up works!”

    Interestingly enough, the twenty-first century may have spawned a new kind of marriage; loveless, but practical and financially lucrative.

    Written by Kristen HoughtonRate this article:

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