Post # 1
I am a regular on the bee and I know how frowned upon it is to have a secret wedding here, so I will spare me and the bee the drama by going anon.
My fiance and I decided that we’re going to have two ceremonies. One at the courthouse and our grand reception a year later. The reason we’re doing this is because both our parents took over and pretty much decided to have their own wedding. None of the decisions we make, aside from our venue space, was ours. We originally wanted an intimate 20 person wedding, but it’s now blown up to this grand affair of over 150 people. We come from very materialistic and well off family who will not understand us wanting a very low-key celebration. They want to show up pretty much everyone they know. I guess we could have denied their money but at the time we chose not to because of cultural reasons. If I refused his parents’ offer, I’d pretty much be disowned from his family even before I got in it.
So after being very stressed out, my fiance proposed that we have our own ceremony with around 5 friends at the courthouse and do our super low key thing we originally wanted with a tiny restaurant reception. I really don’t have any qualms about our huge wedding next year because it will still be nice to see everyone we know. Our ceremony space allowed us to have a ceremony and they don’t care about the legal matters; it’s purely symbolic except our guests won’t know that.
I’m currently attending a private grad school and my parents are paying completely for my tuition, bless their heart. I have no loans or govt. assistance involved, and I’m wondering when I get married whether this will have any affect on my tuition? I don’t plan on changing my name. I don’t want my parents to find out at all what I did either because it’d cause a lot of drama, obviously. They also currently list me as their dependent on taxes, and I’m wondering whether this will have any affect on that when I get legally married. Please help me out.
Thanks! I appreciate all your feedback.
Post # 2
larena4800: Congrats to you and your FI for doing what you want to do! I don’t know about the tuition but the taxes will definitely be a sticky situation if you are legally married. I’m pretty sure it might constitute fraud depending on who is claiming you on taxes. Is there any way you could wait until you finish school to have the small secret ceremony?
Post # 3
Orchid71: +1, it will be a mess, your parents will most likely find out anyway (taxes, tuition/FAFSA, whatever). It is hard to be legally bound to someone and hide it, especially when parents think they can claim you for taxes.
Post # 4
larena4800: Are you in the US? They can’t claim you once you are past 18. Unless you are talking about them putting some sort of tuition reimbursement on their taxes?? I don’t know about that. You will definitely file yourself and you’ll say married filing separately or jointly.
Post # 5
I’m sorry I don’t have any legal advice for you with how getting married effects you being listed as their dependent for tax purposes (it might), but I just want to say I think this is a lovely idea! By doing it this way, you and your fiance take some control over (what should be) your special day. Then when you have the big family affair, you can just relax and enjoy, instead of feeling like your families forced you to do this. I know what it’s like to have family whose financial help you sometimes need to take, even though they hold it over you and use it as a means to control.
Post # 6
larena4800: you should talk to your accountant and attorney, but yes you will have to change your status when you marry. Also, you may be eligible for more aid after you marry, depending on your husband’s income.
Your parents may also decide to stop paying for grad school after you’re married. how will that affect your ability to be in school and future financial picture?
not romantic but needs to be thought through.
Post # 7
rusticchic212: Thank you for your support!
RedHeadKel: Yes, in NYC. Thanks for the feedback! If we were not legally married, would my fiance be able to claim me on his tax instead? Would we need to get a domestic partnership in order to do that? So I could tell my parents that now I’m his dependent?
Post # 8
Is there any reason the low key celebration can’t happen right before the big one? Once you are married, I don’t see how your parents can claim you. You have to file as married.
Post # 9
RedHeadKel: Last year I only worked for a few months and I was laid off. I remember specifically that my mom told me my parents listed me as their dependent. And then I got into grad school and stopped working. Since I’m not working this year, I wouldn’t even need to file taxes right?
Post # 10
larena4800: I don’t blame you. We are having a surprise wedding for that very reason, I don’t want anybody meddling. It may be hard to keep the secret for a year, especially if some people will know and potentially make a comment or mention something around your family without realizing it. It might be easier to hold the secret ceremony closer to the big ceremony for that reason.
As far as school goes, your tuition should not change, especially if your parents are paying outright for it and you aren’t getting any grants or loans that are need based. Your parents CANNOT however, claim you as a dependant if you are married.
Post # 11
larena4800: You can only be claimed if you are married or the dependent child (up to age 24 if a full time student).
Post # 12
Yes, it can cause trouble for your parents when they file. You’re long past the point (cultural infuences or not) where you need to be the one in control of your life–financially, socially and emotionally. If you’re not independant in these things–and right now, you’re not–then all of your choices in life will come with strings attached to them.
Post # 13
larena4800: Your fiance can’t claim you as a dependant.
I can see how getting around this issue with your parents might be a problem. They are paying your tuition and claiming you as a dependant and likely getting some great tax credits by doing so, so they’re not likely to just give up claiming you for no reason without any explanation.
Post # 14
larena4800: Could you wait until the next tax season to do this, so it’ll fall in the same year you have your big symobolic ceremony, so they wouldn’t claim you as a dependant that year and it hopefully wouldn’t be an issue? I agree with PPs that you should do it closer to your big ceremony, so as to minimize potential issues AND the chance of your families finding out. Good luck!
Post # 15
I’d feel like a pretty huge jerk accepting money from my parents for grad school while going behind their back to get married. I’d strongly reconsider your decision which I’m sure both your parents would consider extremely hurtful. If you’re going through the big hooplah wedding next year anyway, why do this now and cause so many more complications for yourself? That said, this will be relevant for tax purposes:
If you are under 24 and going to school full time, your parents can still claim you as a dependent. If you get married, they can still claim you as a dependent, if you “did not file a joint return for that year, unless the return is filed only as a claim for refund and no tax liability would exist for either spouse if they had filed separate returns.”