UPDATE: Three Reasons Some Couples Attempt a Parenting Marriage Instead of Divorce

b2ap3_thumbnail_Untitled---2024-03-19T102557.363.jpgOriginally published: November 5, 2020 -- Updated: March 19, 2024

Update: As discussed below, some parents may choose to remain married while they raise their children rather than getting a divorce. In these situations, it may be beneficial to pursue a legal separation, which will allow a couple to remain legally married while detailing the rights and obligations that will apply to each party. With a legal separation, a couple may choose to live in different homes, or they may continue living together while focusing on parenting responsibilities and keeping their lives separate as much as possible.

A legal separation can provide a number of benefits, such as the ability to maintain family health insurance coverage. The creation of a separation agreement will ensure that both spouses fully understand how certain matters will be handled, including how they will make child-related decisions and, if they are living separately, when children will spend parenting time with each parent. If a couple has taken steps to separate their finances, one spouse may pay child support or spousal support to the other.

It is also important to understand the potential drawbacks of a legal separation. While a couple may live separately and no longer act as married partners, they will still be legally married. They may also be tied together financially if they have not established separate bank accounts or taken steps to become independent from each other, and this could lead to disputes about ownership of property or obligations to pay debts. If either spouse wishes to start a new relationship, they will be unable to marry their new partner, because they will still be married to their current spouse. However, either spouse can pursue a divorce at any time.

Contact Our Wheaton Legal Separation Attorneys

If you have questions about whether legal separation or divorce may be the best option for you as you work together with your spouse to raise your children, contact the DuPage County child custody lawyers at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC. We will advise you of your options and make sure all legal issues related to your separation will be handled correctly. Contact us at 630-665-7300 to set up a consultation today.


 The debate over whether or not parents should stay together for the sake of the kids has been a controversial one for decades now, continually raising the big question: Is divorce really the answer? While most couples contemplate divorce as a means to end a relationship that is no longer working for either party, the concept of a parenting marriage stems from an entirely different motivator all together—one aimed at serving a very unique purpose. 

The Idea Behind the Parenting Marriage Model

Just as couples who decide to divorce based on the realization that their marriage is no longer a healthy option, couples who choose a parenting marriage also recognize that their relationship has changed and is no longer the romantic partnership it once was. Under this marriage model, they choose to remain in the marriage for the sole purpose of continuing to raise the children together. 

The specifics of a parenting marriage can differ greatly from one couple to the next. Many spouses remain living under the same roof, in their own personal bedrooms, and some choose to date and have separate romantic relationships outside of the home. Negotiations are made both formally and informally, and mutually agreed upon boundaries and guidelines are established from the beginning. 

The Logic Behind Staying Put

Knowing when to stay or to go when children are involved in a marriage is understandably a complicated dilemma. After all the major disadvantages and advantages of separating have been explored, some couples determine that a parenting marriage is their next best course of action. Whether used as a temporary transition tool or a long-term alternative to divorce, this marriage model could be an option for the following reasons:

The practical nature of the arrangement - The fact that a parenting marriage can be very efficient is a huge appeal for many couples who wish to uphold their existing marital structure while at the same time redefining and repurposing their relationship with their spouse. The concept is only practical for those who are capable and willing to cooperate with one another, however. Both parties must truly be on board with whatever guidelines and boundaries are put into place, and they must ultimately share the same goals and desires.

Stress reduction at home - Without a doubt, this is often the largest motivator for practicing a parenting marriage, especially where the children are concerned. One of the biggest sources of anxiety for parents facing divorce is wondering what it will mean for the children emotionally and mentally. Although the changing of the marital relationship must still be addressed and discussed with the kids, a parenting marriage at least allows certain routines and structures to remain in place, which may significantly lessen the stress levels children experience from one day to the next.

Necessity - Another reason the parenting marriage is viewed as a practical lifestyle for adults who wish to continue raising their children together is that sometimes, it is a matter of pure necessity. Some financially dependent spouses determine the easiest way to separate yet remain together for the sake of the children is to stay married, and continue to provide for the children and keep the process as streamlined as possible. Dividing property and assets, retirement plans, health insurance plans, and even basic bank accounts can be huge undertakings for both parties.

Talk to a DuPage County Family Law Attorney

If you have explored the idea of a parenting marriage or have already been practicing the model, only to arrive at the conclusion that a traditional divorce is necessary, speaking with a knowledgeable Wheaton divorce lawyer can help lessen your anxiety by addressing all your questions and concerns. When you are ready to file, call MKFM Law at 630-665-7300 for a confidential consultation.


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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree