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Is a Parenting Marriage a Viable Alternative to Divorce?

 Posted on February 17, 2021 in Parenting

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There used to be just two options for married couples: Stay together or get divorced. Now there are conscious uncouplers, bird-nesters, and even those who turn their traditional marriage into a “parenting marriage.” This last non-traditional family unit—the parenting marriage—is gaining a lot of traction lately, particularly among those who are at a deadlock in their marriage but still want to see their children every day. Could this model realistically work for your family as an alternative to divorce?

What Is a Parenting Marriage?

In many ways, a parenting marriage is a lot like a traditional marriage. The couple is (usually) still legally married, and they continue to live in the same house. However, their marriage is no longer an intimate relationship. Instead, it is a platonic one. They do not share the same bed, there is little to no physical intimacy, and most have separate finances and accounts. The sole function of their marriage is to raise their children together under the same roof without the stress of trying to mend a relationship that is no longer working.

Who Engages in a Parenting Marriage?

Most couples who enter into a parenting marriage have tried to repair their marriage but have been largely unsuccessful. They feel like they are in a deadlock and know they are headed for divorce, but they stall out when they start to think about seeing their kids only on weekends or having to split holidays and birthdays. These parents love their children and do not want to miss out on a minute of their lives. This can be said for most parents, of course, but parenting marriage couples are unique in the fact that they get along “well enough” that they can continue living together.  

Couples that have a lot of conflict, are prone to jealousy, pettiness, or passive-aggressiveness, and those that have differing parenting values or beliefs may not be a good match for a parenting marriage. However, even former spouses who do get along and are emotionally mature have aspects to consider before engaging in the parenting marriage. For example, what would happen if one of you loses your job? This could cause a great deal of stress, despite the lack of emotional connection in your marriage. After all, you do still live together, and the other parent would have to compensate for the loss in income.

Divorce May Happen Anyway

Some parenting couples do eventually divorce. Others choose a different family model, like the bird-nesting divorce. In this family unit, the parents rotate in and out of the house, and the children always live in the family home. This reduces the amount of time parents spend with one another, but it still allows for family meals and a great deal of flexibility. Some parents have also reported that this type of divorce is less stressful for their children.

Contact a Lombard, IL Family Lawyer for Help

Whatever family model you end up choosing, it is important that you know where to turn when and if you are ever ready to officially file for divorce. At A. Traub & Associates, we know that each family is unique, with its own specific needs and factors to consider. Our dedicated DuPage County family law attorneys respect these differences by giving you and your family the personalized, attentive representation that you deserve. Ask how we can help your family move into the next phase. Call us today at 630-426-0196 to schedule a confidential consultation.



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