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Thinking of divorce? One expert recommends a 'consorce'

Is it possible to stay together during your separation?

By Kristin Wong Dec 13, 2012 4:55PM

In recent years, researchers have been exploring the link between the economic downturn and the rate of divorce, and at least one study shows that divorce rates are lower during a recession. 

Photo: stevecoleimages/Getty ImagesMany couples decide to stay in an unhappy marriage rather than pay for a costly divorce and risk financial ruin. But one expert says he has a solution for couples who want to split but also want to "avoid the myriad costs of divorce." It's been dubbed a consorce, and essentially, it involves estranged couples cohabitating for the sake of their finances—and children.

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In an article for Fox News, psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow writes:

"The idea of married couples deciding on a 'consorce,' rather than a divorce, is this: Why should a couple split up the family funds, maintain two dwellings, involve the courts in their lives, hire attorneys and cause each other months or years of suffering when they could simply agree that the romantic part of their marriage has ended and that they will remain married and live together as friends and partners, in order to maintain a level of consistency for their children?" 

Ablow goes so far as to suggest couples that can still sleep in the same bedroom "without sexual contact expected by either individual." 

The obvious issue with this arrangement is, if you're contemplating divorce, you probably want a separate life from your partner. But Ablow argues that it's beneficial to turn the marriage into a friendship and essentially become roommates. 

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A consorce isn't an open marriage, either. Couples agree to adopt a "Don't ask; Don't tell" policy regarding their separate sex lives. 

Psychologically, Ablow says a consorce relieves couples from the pressure and expectation of being with their partner forever—romantically and sexually. 

"[Consorce] allows them to maintain their households and become very reliable partners to one another and very close friends," he writes. 

Obviously, this isn't a solution for every marital situation. 

But what do you think—if you were contemplating divorce, would you first try a consorce?

Photo: stevecoleimages/Getty Images

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Dec 13, 2012 6:48PM
Sounds more civil than an expensive court battle but I bet a potential new BF or GF would have a hard time believing someone who said, "I live with my spouse and we sleep in the same bed, but we're not sexually active." If you and your spouse can remain friends and living under one roof with the kids is your number one priority, I say go for it (just don't expect to kick off a fantastic dating life on the side). I, for one, wanted to move on with my life after my divorce and I couldn't get out of there fast enough!
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