Is an Open Marriage a Viable Divorce Alternative?


Last week, the New York Observer’s The New Divorce Is No Divorce attracted the interest of Pasadena divorce lawyers when it profiled several affluent couples who had decided to remain married but essentially act as single people. They dated other people and pursued personal outside interests, but continued to live together for companionship and the benefit of the children. When asked about the reasoning behind their decision, they said they had seen the affects of divorce on other couples and wanted to find a better alternative.

Although it’s true that a poorly handled divorce can wreak havoc on your finances and create unnecessary stress, there are good reasons to think twice before choosing the sort of divorce alternative profiled in this story.

The biggest risk with this arrangement is that one of you will change your mind about the terms of the initial agreement. Maintaining the concept of marital assets is tricky in a relationship where one or both parties are also seeing other people. If your spouse suddenly decides he’s not going to do his part to help with your living expenses so he can spend more money on vacations with his new girlfriend, you'll end up financially strapped with little legal recourse. This is especially problematic if you are still caring for young children and have little or no income of your own.

If you have a moral or philosophical objection to divorce, a legal separation is one alternative to consider. An experienced family law attorney can help you create a legal separation agreement that addresses important issues like the division of assets, child custody, child support, and spousal support without going through a divorce. Since you’ll still be considered legally married, the agreement will protect military benefits, medical benefits, and certain Social Security benefits that are tied to marital status.

How Can We Help?

If you are in need of legal representation during your legal separation or divorce, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at Our Pasadena family law attorneys can assist in creating a settlement that makes sure your best interests are protected.