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Why Some Separated Couples Choose Never To Divorce

A New York Times article republished by MSNBC explores the motivations behind some unhappily wed couples' decisions to skip the divorce. Call it the "un-divorce" or the "permanent separation," some separated couples still enjoy the benefits of marriage without the emotional trappings of the actual relationship.

It's not for everyone, and Atlanta divorce lawyers will continue to see a steady stream of clients, some couples simply see no need for the costly and time-consuming process of legally dissolving a marriage.     

One example given in the article is a Virginia couple that has been married for 35 years. John Frost was relocated to Tennessee by his employer 10 years ago but he left his wife behind. She elected not to follow him and the two decided they preferred it that way; but neither of them planned to remarry, so there was no divorce.

His wife, whose name was not mentioned, continues to enjoy his employer-sponsored health care benefits and the two file joint tax returns. They see each other just a few times a year and he said they get along better than ever now that they live apart.

It makes a lot of sense to hear John Frost explain why he saw no reason to divorce:

"To tie a bow around it would only make it uglier. When people ask about my relationship status, I usually just say: 'It's complicated. I like my wife, I just can't live with her.'"

Legal separation is almost always associated with an imminent divorce, or sometimes a resolution and a return to the domestic relationship eschewed by the Frosts. But divorce attorney Lynn Gold-Bikin said she sees "endless separations" all the time.

One of the more famous "eternally separated" couples was billionaire investor Warren Buffet and his late wife Susan Buffet. The couple was separated from 1977 until her death in 2004, but he lived with Astrid Menks as if she were his wife.

Ask a trusted Georgia family law attorney about whether a divorce-free separation is good for you and your spouse.

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