Instead of getting a divorce, some couples choose to redefine marriage. A parenting marriage is the term used for a marriage in which spouses whose romantic relationship has ended stay married for the sake of the children. For parents, this may be an option worth considering. However, it might not make sense in every situation.
Why Spouses Stay In A Parenting Marriage
An article from Psychology Today reveals survey results that show why some couples choose to stay in a parenting marriage as an alternative to divorce. The majority stated that the romance had been over for years, while some indicated that an affair effectively ruined the relationship. Some of the reasons for continuing on in a parenting marriage were that they thought it was the best thing for the children, they did not want to split up the family and they wanted as much parenting time as possible.
One of the motivating factors revealed was the cost of divorce and limited financial resources. Many survey respondents thought divorce was cost prohibitive.
Continuing With A Parenting Marriage Is Not Easy
The article indicates that a parenting marriage is not necessarily an easy alternative to divorce. A new framework will need to be created to address romantic expectations, social connections, family obligations, financial obligations and more. In fact, agreements may need to be reached that would parallel those in divorce. For example, if parents want to spend time with children separately, there may need to be child custody-type agreements reached that outline how that will be structured.
The distinction is that there is no legal basis for reaching these agreements within a parenting marriage, and there will be no orders in place that hold each spouse accountable in the event that agreements are not followed. This could lead to acrimony between spouses in a parenting marriage.
Understand All Options Before Making A Decision
Continuing in a parenting marriage may be a valid option, depending on the situation. You may want to discuss the matter with an experienced family law attorney who can help you weigh the legal positives and negatives of staying in a parenting marriage.
Keep in mind that divorce may not be as cost-prohibitive as you believe, particularly if you and your spouse are able to reach agreements without court intervention. A lawyer can analyze your situation and give you specific information about what the divorce process would look like for you, while also addressing the needs of your children.