Many divorced spouses can undoubtedly relate with this predicament, but there is one critical distinction. Tamara Harp and Lionel Lewis are divorced yet continue to live together. The former couple, as well as their two children, are still residing in the same home. This arrangement began after Mr. Harp failed to meet his financial obligations following the divorce. He was unable to pay his share of household expenses and child support, so Mrs. Harp agreed to stay in the home and care for her children.
There are several factors that may have led to Mr. Harp's inability to move on with his life following the divorce. Perhaps he felt a sense of responsibility toward his ex-wife and children or perhaps staying in the home allowed him to save money. Whatever the case may be, he has been living with his former in-law ever since they divorced in 1996.
The situation of married parents who can't stand being apart any longer than necessary and want to maintain their family relationship even after getting divorced is not unusual. Research shows that nearly half of all divorced parents get back together within five years of the split.
However, living together without marrying does present some challenges for divorced parents. For example, they can't marry someone new and still retain ownership of their home. They also can't file joint taxes unless they decide to change that option later on.
The couple's choice to live apart, often known as a LAT relationship, or "Living Apart Together," was mutual and based on practical considerations. Lloyd-Martin, the owner and CEO of a successful SEO copywriting firm, works from home and loves to get up and go to bed early.
Living Separately Lloyd-Martin and Blanchette are not alone: they are among the millions of married couples in the United States who opt to live apart (also known as "nonresidential partnerships").
It may appear contradictory that living apart from a love partner might have relationship benefits, which is why I've concentrated on them here. None of this, however, is meant to diminish the huge potential benefits of cohabitation.
It's not unusual for a divorced couple to change their minds and reconnect. After a divorce, a couple may choose to live together. These divorced but cohabiting spouses share the task of parenting their children outside of their marriage. Because they aren't married, they don't receive any legal rights or responsibilities regarding their former marriage. However, they can still get involved with each other's lives even after the divorce is final.
Almost one in five (18%) adult women in the United States are living with a former spouse, compared with 12% of men. This is higher than the 8% of women and 4% of men who were married in 2001. The most common reason people give for living together after getting divorced is because they need help making payments on an apartment or house (24%). Other reasons include wanting to have more freedom over where they live (20%), needing someone to care for them when they are sick (16%) or elderly (12%), and wanting to see if this relationship is going to work out between strangers (10%).
There are several different types of post-divorce relationships. In a new relationship, two people we've never met before decide they want to marry each other. They go to a lawyer or priest and sign papers creating some rights and responsibilities between them.
Long-term couples that opt not to live together are referred to as "apartners." Tim Burton and Helena Bonham-Carter were rumored to have resided in separate but adjacent residences during their marriage. The pair eventually divorced in 1996 after 14 years of marriage.
While living separately is not illegal in most states, it does put you at risk of being labeled as "divorced" instead of "separated." If you want to avoid this label and remain married for life, you should consider moving into one residence.
Here's how other long-term marriages have survived:
Elvis Presley and Lisa Marie Presley were married for 13 years before divorcing in 1979. They remarried two months later. Elvis died in 1977 -- just three months into their second marriage.
Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis were married for eight years before separating in 1975. They didn't divorce until 1981 when Reagan was elected president. During that time, Nancy Reagan went on to become a famous first lady.
George Bush and Barbara Pierce were married for 25 years before he passed away in 2018. She remains active in public life and has never gotten divorced.
So if you're interested in learning how other long-term marriages have survived, see how these pairs did it!
However, a tiny but rising number of long-term couples in nations such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Canada are opting out of cohabitation completely, choosing to live in separate houses. This is known as "living away from each other," or LAT.
The number of long-term relationships in which one partner lives with another but not married has increased in recent years. In a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center's Social Trends Project, about 1 in 10 adults in the United States said that they were in an unmarried partnership in which at least one member lived with someone else. Another 14% were in a marriage, divorce, separation, or widowhood situation where at least one person still lived with their spouse/former spouse.
These numbers are small compared to the total population, but they are growing because more people are staying together for longer periods of time. The share of marriages that end in divorce has dropped significantly since 1960, when half of all marriages ended in divorce. Now it is less than 40%.
There are several reasons why more people are choosing to live apart rather than together. Sometimes this choice is made because one partner is working away from home a lot, so living separately allows them to have their own space and time alone if needed. Others choose this arrangement so they can have a fresh start after a bad break-up or move to a new city and begin life over again.
Lloyd-Martin and Blanchette are far from alone: They join the millions of married couples in the United States who opt to live apart (also known as "nonresidential partnerships"). According to a 2014 study by the U.S. Census Bureau, almost 5 million Americans were living separately from their spouses or partners.
In fact, according to the same census data, there were more than 5 million unmarried people living in American households in 2014. That's nearly 10 percent of all households in the country!
The most common reason for having an unmarried partner is that two people without children want to take advantage of the advantages of being under one roof while still having some space between them. This can be done by having a home together but not sharing a bed or by having shared accommodations but keeping separate bedrooms.
Married couples who live separately often do so because one spouse has a busy career that requires long hours away from home and this person cannot afford to invest in a house with a partner who cannot contribute equally to the expenses. Or perhaps one spouse wants to have his or her own place while still feeling like he or she has a home where the other spouse can always come back to. Whatever the case may be, married couples who live separately have the same rights as any other couple when it comes to getting divorced or marrying someone else.