Older adults are pursuing committed romantic relationships while living apart to avoid a potential future of full-time caregiving, according to a recent story in the New York Times. The new relationship trend has been dubbed “living apart together,” or “LAT.”

Contributing factors to LAT include greater longevity and the doubling of the divorce rate for people over 50 since the 1990s. There also is an increased trend away from remarriage following divorce or widowhood. In addition, there is a reluctance among women to fulfill the societal norm of becoming primary caregivers to a new spouse after they’ve spent a lifetime caring for their children, husband, and/or parents.

According to the article, full-time caregiving does indeed take a significant emotional and physical toll: Twenty-three percent of caregivers suffered negative health effects, according to a 2020 report from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP.

LAT relationships seem to be more prevalent at certain socioeconomic levels, where each partner can afford to maintain a separate household. This type of arrangement provides emotional support while allowing independence. The NYT piece cited experts advising couples wishing to pursue LAT to discuss it early on, including working out the details on healthcare, financial and family resources.

LAT describes long-term, committed relationships where there is no intent to share a home. However, should the relationship transition into marriage or cohabitation, it is important to protect yourself and your finances. A family law attorney can help you draw up a domestic partnership agreement, cohabitation agreement or prenuptial agreement.

If you are seeking a Bucks County attorney for domestic partnership agreements, cohabitation agreements or prenuptial agreements, please contact us at 215-340-2207 or email info@bucksfamilylawyers.com.