Post # 1
I’m new here so hopefully this isn’t a hot-button topic, but anyway…
Fiance and I have been living together for a few years and have checked to see how our income taxes would look if we were filing jointly as opposed to now, where I can file as head of household (I have a daughter) and he files as single. Because our income is fairly high and we both earn about the same amount, we’d lose thousands of dollars per year in taxes by being married. We both get health insurance through our employer, and even if one of us lost our jobs, we could get insurance for each other because they cover domestic partners (even without a state-recognized official domestic partnership). So basically, we’d have to pay the federal government a whole lot of money just for the honor of them agreeing that we’re married. And if our financial situation changes in the future (or if they get rid of the marriage penalty), there’s no reason we couldn’t get legally married at that point.
I feel like, if we have a ceremony for ourselves and just don’t file the paperwork, we can call each other husband and wife, and we can get a lawyer to do our wills and take care of things like power of attorney. My thinking is that marriage is a concept that pre-dates the US government by thousands of years, so what business do they have getting involved? And philosophically I don’t think it’s the government’s job to get involved in any form of marriage. I guess it would be kind of like what some same-sex couples are forced to do in states that don’t recognize them, but we’d be doing it willingly even though we’re heterosexual.
How do you guys feel about this sort of thing? I am hesitant to ask my friends and family because I don’t know how they’d react. Would you consider a couple to be married if it’s just a ceremony, but not recognized by the government? Also, would it be dishonest for us to not mention the legal status of our marriage to other people? Really I don’t see how it’s anybody’s business, but I don’t want people thinking we’ve got a “fake” marriage or that it’s less worthy of respect.
Has anybody else here done something like this? I feel almost like we’re crazy for even considering it, but we could do so much with all of the money we’d save.
For what it’s worth, we’re also not religious, and won’t be having a church wedding. We want to get married because we want to make a strong commitment to each other, and that’s it. I realize that some people might wonder why we even want to get married at that point, but it’s something that would mean a lot to both of us.
Post # 3
frankly I think you’re being silly. If you want to pretend to be married, then just start pretending…
Post # 4
@rosegardener: I think there’s a finality and seriousness about “filing the paperwork” as you put it in a relationship. You can be as commited as you like, something happens when you stand up, take those vows and sign that document, it’s a promise and your friends, family and local county clerk are going to help you keep it. Otherwise, leaving is infinitley more easy and the stakes aren’t as high.
You do what works for you and your family, but I can say, there’s a difference once it’s official.
Post # 5
@rosegardener: I personally consider the ceremony as the beginning of a marriage. For me the government is just the paperwork. You wouldn’t say a baby isn’t “real” just because you don’t have the official birth certificate yet.
Post # 6
as long as you’re not going to commit fraud on your taxes, I don’t care what you do 😉
Post # 7
What would the point of such a ceremony be?
Post # 8
Ok, so to you, without the government, it is a fake marriage?
I get what you’re saying. Without the paperwork, we could also break up without going through the pain of a divorce. Since we already own a house together, breaking up would not be trivial, but you’re right that it isn’t the same. This bothers me too and I wonder if there’s a way around it without paying lots of taxes just so we have the threat of lawyer fees hanging over our relationship? (Yeah I am wording it silly, but I am actually asking this seriously)
We want to commit to each other publicly in front of our friends and family, and get their support for our relationship. Doing it for social reasons as opposed to doing it for religious or legal reasons.
Post # 9
It’s a free country, so y’all do what you want to do. However if you’re going to have guests, just know that many people don’t like unknowingly participating in ceremonies like this (wedding with no signed paperwork). As long as you’re open with your guests, have at it.
ETA: If it’s about the taxes, what about filing separately after marriage? That is an option after all.
Post # 10
Personally, I’d find other ways to save money once a year and become legally married.
ETA: If you don’t believe in religious or legal marriage, I would just assume to remain single. I guess I am having a hard time understanding. If it’s just about the money… I would become legally married and file in the way that maximized our return.
Post # 11
Filing separately would cost us even more. The head of household and single brackets are both a lot friendlier than married filing single.
Post # 12
I think if this works for you then you should do it despite what people say. I believe the true commitment and importance is in the vows you say to each other and the promises you make — basically, the ceremony. I don’t think the legal part is nearly as important — as you said, marriage by vow predates marriage by government. Saying that is doesn’t count just because the government doesn’t recognize it is invalidating a lot of marriages between people whom the government refused to legally recognize as married — slaves, same-sex couples and even just working class people if we look back even further in history.
It’s all a matter of perspective. If in your eyes and heart you know that saying the vows and having the ceremony would make a difference, then it is worth it.
Post # 13
I understand that not everyone in this country can get married so you can be commited without being legally married, but seriously, if you want to be married just pay more in taxes for it.
But if you do decide to go ahead and have a big ceremony and reception, just make sure your guest know it is a commitment ceremony and not a wedding.
Post # 14
Do it. It is absolutely no one else’s business. Eff the government.
Post # 15
it’s either a marriage or it’s a relationship. if you don’t sign papers you’re in a relationship. If you called him your hubsband yeah, I’d think you’re weird… but I’d also never say that out loud.
Post # 16
I do think it would be dishonest if you didn’t mention your legal status – your friends/family/people you love would probably feel like you lied to them. If you’re going to do it, at least be honest with everyone. Society as an idea of what “marriage” is, and as much as you don’t want to be a part of it (which is fine), everyone else will likely not understand.