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Tessina, a psychotherapist in Southern California and the author of 13 books on relationships, including Whether couples are staying together because they (consciously or unconsciously) are holding out for a reconciliation or because they feel they can’t afford to maintain their lifestyle on their own, they need to take some a few important things into consideration.In many states, a couple needs to live apart physically for a certain period of time (often a year) before they can begin divorce proceedings.Living in two homes also means two sets of utility bills and divorced people often wind up paying more in taxes.In many states, all assets in a long-term marriage — saving and investment accounts, primary (and second) homes, boats, valuable jewelry, businesses — get divided (often in half) and one partner also might end up having to pay the other alimony.(MORE: How to Tell Your Adult Children You're Divorcing) The Ties That Bind?According to Tessina, the most common thing that keeps people together is money — or more to the point, the lack thereof.While some try to keep the arrangement under wraps, plenty of others are straightforward about it.
“It sounds silly, but I knew that when Jim and I truly divorced, unless I won lotto or something, I’d never have as nice a kitchen again for the rest of my life," she confides.
"It took time for Karen to re-establish her public relations career to a point where we could both afford new homes we loved," he says.
"We also needed to get used to the idea that even though our marriage failed and we were no longer living the suburban dream, we had not failed as people and we had not failed our children.” The Hidden Costs While many “separated” couples decide to stay together because they believe they’ll save money, sometimes the reality is precisely the opposite, says Nicole Sodoma, a family law attorney licensed in North Carolina and Washington.
The phenomenon of being "separated but together" is a new kind of normal, particularly for couples over age 50.
Often they have been married for 20 or more years and jointly own a home and other valuable assets, says Tina B.