The Chicago Family Law Blog

The Worst Idea Ever? A Consource

Divorce can be a very expensive proposition. Two lawyers, court fees, a new residence, moving costs, and various other expenses mean that for many, it's going to dramatically damage your financial situation, if not outright destroy it. It will also dramatically disrupt the lives of your children.

What's the solution? Dr. Keith Ablow suggests to Fox News that couples consider a "consource" instead. What is this newfangled solution? It's cohabitation for formerly married couples. In short, you end the romantic part of your marriage while sustaining the platonic friendship, household, and possibly even the marital bedroom (without the hanky-panky) for the sake of the children. Saving money is an added bonus.

Instead of splitting accounts, selling the house, hiring attorneys, and litigating and negotiating a divorce, the couple takes a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to each other’s personal lives, ends their own intimacy, and continue to raise their children in unison.

Ever see an ex-significant other on a romantic date with their new beau? That miserable feeling is exactly why this is a terrible idea. Sure, it might save a few bucks, and might minimize the disruption to the children, but what happens when daddy brings over his new girlfriend for the first time? Let’s hope mommy doesn’t have an anger problem and a loaded shotgun.

Divorce is so miserable because of those same feelings. Cohabitating with an ex-spouse may just drag that process out and lengthen the pain.

Legally, it’s not the greatest idea either. In most marriages and in most states, the wages of each spouse are marital property. So is nearly everything acquired during the marriage, except inheritance or separate gifts. While you are cohabitating and procrastinating on terminating a failed marriage, the tab is still running on your paychecks. Courts end the martial property clock when separation occurs. If you’re still sharing the bedroom, or the house, even without the intimacy, you’re still sharing your property.

How about this? Instead of a consourse or cohabitation arrangement, where a man has to live in the presence of his wife and her new boyfriend, the couple explores a mediated divorce instead? The same couples that get along enough to consider cohabitation are likely to succeed in a mediated divorce, where cooperation and coming to a reasonable split can avoid years of legal wrangling and two sets of legal fees.

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