Post # 1
So my fiance and I are seeking advice. We are 28 and 27 years old. We are set to get married in Fall 2014. We currently live together, and have been engaged for about a year. Neither of us come from wealthy families so we will be paying for all of our wedding ourselves.
I am fortunate enough to earn a relatively high income for my age. My fiance however, just started a business this year and, while, it is going well and picking up speed, she will still have a net loss for the year. So even though my income is high, after paying our student loans, supporting my fiance and retirement savings, we don’t have ton of extra cash lying around. All this to say, I figured out that if we were to file our taxes as a married couple for 2013, we would get an additional refund amount of approximately $10,000, which would go a long way towards financing our wedding.
So we had the thought, as others on this forum have, of getting civilly married this year to take advantage of the tax break. We talked to our priest, the archdiosese, and our ceremony church, and they are all on board. The only catch is that this would be a “convalidation” rather than a straight up wedding.
While we would carry on publicly as an engaged couple until the wedding, we worry that the wedding ceremony would somehow be different if this was a convalidation rather than a marriage ceremony. We also worry about not telling most of our guests that it would not be a legal wedding they are attending. We don’t want to be disengenous or lie to our guests, but in our own minds we wouldn’t be “married” until the Catholic ceremony.
Wanted to get people’s thoughts on this. We don’t want to kill ourselves financing our wedding, but more than anything we don’t want to steal anything from our actual wedding. Is $10,000 worth a mere legal formality?
tl;dr: Getting legally married before religous wedding gets us an extra $10k tax refund, which basically pays for wedding. Should we do it?
Post # 3
If you’re going to get married before your church wedding, fine. Just own it and don’t hide it. If you get a big tax break, go for it, but if I’m a guest and you trick me into thinking you’re still engaged, I’m going to think you’re a liar. If you don’t act like you’re doing something shady, then no one is going to think you’re doing shady.
It doesn’t matter if in your minds you’re not “married” till your church wedding because you’re more than willing to reap the civil benefits. You can’t have it both ways. If you’re willing to let the government count you as married then you need to be willing to let your guests do the same.
Post # 4
Just out of curiosity, how did you figure that you’d get that much more? I’m wondering if getting hitched in the next week might be a good idea for me too lol.
Post # 5
I’d talk to someone who does taxes first, and make sure you would actually get a tax break that large!
And if the tax person says it’s legit, and your Church is on board, I’d do it!
Post # 6
Hi @ndwedding14: I see this is your DEBUT Post on WBee… so a BIG Welcome to “the Hive”
Being a US Bee, you are probably going to discover that when it comes to the Catholic Church… that once you are married (and a run to the Court House does equal a Marriage)… then you are married.
So there is no re-do in the Church…
In so much as no Priest is going to hold a “fake Wedding” for the sake of Family.
As you have discovered it will be a Vow Renewal (can look like a Wedding to some degree) or a Convalidation (doesn’t look like a Wedding, and actually often happens at the beginning of a regular Mass)
My best advice… talk to your Parish Priest again… so you 100% KNOW what would be offered to you for the October Date.
Personally, I don’t believe in “faking it” for the sake of appearances.
If you are mature enough to get married, then you should be mature enough to OWN IT.
You should be able to STAND UP for your Marriage… both LITERALLY & FIGURITIVELY IMO.
Get married or don’t at the end of 2013. But PICK ONE and stick with it.
Hope this helps,
Post # 7
I just did some googling and used a few tax calculators and it looks like getting married in the next week will not make a difference, but we have very similar incomes. Oh well.
Post # 8
- Wedding: June 2014 - Baby #2 due Sep 2017
@ndwedding14: Fiance (well, DH) and I got legally married last month ahead of our wedding for similar financial reasons and visa reasons.
We were open and have told everyone. Got a couple of disappointed people but no biggy.
Nothing feels different to us as it was ‘just a bit of paperwork’ and we’re still living as engaged so I’m expecting our wedding party next year to be just as special 🙂
Post # 9
To answer some of the questions posed: (1) I am pretty familiar with the tax code through my job and (2) the tax break really only works if you have one high income and one low income. Two middle/low incomes really has no affect, and two high incomes actually results in what is commonly referred to as the “marriage penalty.”
If we did this, we actually wouldn’t consider ourselves married until the Catholic ceremony, it wouldn’t just be a “show” for the public.
I think we do have to talk it through with our priest a little more to flush out the differences, but its still good to see some others have considered this. I was actually surprised to find no other people on the interwebz who had tax as a motivation.
Post # 10
@ndwedding14: Yeah that’s what I figured out too, since we have two similar middle incomes, it doesn’t make any difference for us. I say do whatever you want! If it’s going to help you out that much, I’d go for it. 🙂
Post # 11
For PP, I worked for a CPA for three years and this is possible since she’s taking a loss on her Schedule C it seems like. This would have nothing to do with non small business owning folks like me.
To OP @ndwedding14: As a guest, I would prefer that you told me you got married for financial reasons first rather than withhold the truth. $10k is a lot of money but I would speak to a tax professional before jumping the gun. As of two years ago, in the US, as long as you got married the last half of the year, you can choose to claim single or married without consequences. The law might have changed but I doubt it.
ETA: And yes, for an additional $10k, I would go ahead and get married but I’m not religious and I wouldn’t hide the fact that we got married.
Post # 12
@MRSsrm85: Not only the biz losses, but I am actually able to deduct some student loan interest paid as well. I am phased out at my income level when filing by myself.
Post # 13
“If we did this, we actually wouldn’t consider ourselves married until the Catholic ceremony, it wouldn’t just be a “show” for the public.”
It would just be a show for the public, because you WOULD be married. What you consider yourselves is not relevant. You will be legally married. Be honest with yourselves and your guests, officiants, etc. Lying is rude. If the 10k is helpful, go for it. Just be honest about it. You will not be engaged any longer, you’ll be a married couple.
Post # 14
@ndwedding14: The only thing that is concerning is you “aren’t considering yourselves married” after getting legally married. That tells me that the party is more important than the actual wedding itself. Regardless of what you’d like to pretend it is, you ARE married when you sign that license. Pretending otherwise won’t change that, as I imagine a large portion of friends and family will feel.
You want to get married in the courthouse so you can get the money for the party where you are basically acting out a wedding( and even further, a Catholic) ceremony is going to raise a few eyebrows.
Signing that license isn’t about the tax breaks. It is about the commitment you’re making and the party is just the icing.
Post # 15
@ndwedding14: I would go for it then. FYI the people of weddingbee hate it when people keep their weddings a secret and then have another wedding. Yes, I would consider your courthouse wedding a wedding. To call it anything else undermines others who have courthouse weddings and you will be legally married. It is in fact a real wedding.
Post # 16
@ndwedding14: See the only problem I have is the attitude of we wont consider ourselves married but will gladly take the benefits of being married. To me you can’t have it both ways. If you don’t consider yourself married then shouldn’t you refuse the benefits of being married because to you you aren’t married. Either be married, get the tax breaks and have the convalidation ceremony later or suck it up and wait and have the church wedding.
And please don’t lie to your guests. I find it amazing how many church members feel that it is ok to lie. Last time I checked thou shalt not lie was still in the bible.