An old-fashioned approach to saving a marriage

As even a divorce attorney might agree, there can be arrangements short of divorce that will help a marriage.

In fact, at least one commentator suggests that the old fashioned Hollywood depictions of married couples sleeping in separate beds — or even bedrooms — could be the latest reinvented trend. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, around 3.5 million American couples might be living apart, but choosing to stay married.

Admittedly, non-romantic reasons might account for some of those couples. Perhaps a couple decided to defer their divorce until their economic situation stabilized. Other couples might stay together until their children are grown. Another explanation might be changing views about marriage. More Americans are marrying later in life. That means that many American singles might not only be accustomed to an independent lifestyle, but also have a work history and time to acquire significant pre-marital assets, such as a house or condo.

For the romantics, however, living apart can be a way to reintroduce mystery into a relationship. In some ways, living apart as married couples may even seem like dating again. Couples in that arrangement must decide when and where to meet, and there’s no guarantee of an invitation to stay over at the end of night. There’s even celebrity precedent for this arrangement, as in the case of movie director Tim Burton and wife Helena Bonham Carter, who have adjacent London townhouses.

Couples in this arrangement might even consider the option of a postnuptial or other type of marital agreement that addresses their unique approach. The contract could define the marital estate, as well as property and financial matters that each spouse wishes to exclude from that classification.

Source: alternet.org, “Is Living Apart Good for Marriage? For More Americans, Two Roofs May Be Better Than One,” Lynn Stuart Parramore, Aug. 16, 2013