Platonic Parenting: The Non-Divorce Divorce
Couples may commonly stay together for the “sake of the kids” rather than get a divorce. In fact, some couples are now choosing to emotionally and financially server a relationship but continue to live together. This type or parenting — platonic parenting — tries to combine what is best for a couple and their children.
Married While Separated
A couple, recognizing that their marital relationship is unsustainable, decide to end their relationship. However, in the interests of the children to be raised by both parents in the same household, the parents continue to live together in the family home. The marital relationship continues in a legal sense, but from an emotional (and often financial) standpoint, the relationship ends. There is no divorce proceeding, no arguing over child custody, and no dealing with child support payments. As far as the children are concerned, life continues as normal.
Still, the effectiveness of platonic parenting is unknown. Children undeniably benefit from both parents being actively involved in their daily lives. Yet the arrangement could cause confusion, especially if one or both parents begin dating, or if they decide to formally end the marriage to marry another. In such cases, shielding the children from the effects of a divorce is therefore only postponed.
Additionally, a platonic marriage could never work with a history of domestic violence. However, for those couples who would otherwise be able to remain friends following a divorce, a platonic marriage may work, provided that they are upfront about their expectations.
A couple can create whatever arrangement will work for them. Any couple who chooses a platonic marriage should get the details of that arrangement in writing, preferably in a postnuptial agreement. Issues that should be addressed include the following:
- Financial contributions to the household expenses;
- Financial support, if any, each spouse will provide the other;
- How assets earned after a platonic marriage begins will be divided when/if a formal divorce is sought;
- Beneficiary designations on life insurance, retirement, and estate plans;
- Whether the family will continue to vacation together, or if each parent will be entitled to separate vacations; and
- How future romantic relationships with third parties will be handled.
Palatine Divorce Attorney
The idea of a platonic marriage is attractive, considering how stressful divorce and child custody proceedings can be. Whether or not this is an option for you depends on the particular circumstances of each situation. With more than 10 years of experience handling family law cases, skilled Palatine divorce attorney Nicholas W. Richardson can help you decide if a platonic marriage would work for you, and he can help you plan for this route, if that is the best option. His office serves clients in Palatine, Arlington Heights, Rolling Meadows and the surrounding Chicago suburbs. Please call us today to schedule your free initial consultation.