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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all! I'm in a committed lifelong partnership. We're unmarried but looking into the possibility of legally tying the knot.

I'd love to learn from some married individuals the pros and cons of being legally marriage and how being married has helped or hurt your partnership and finances.

We've heard that being legally married can be a pain if one of the partners' businesses gets sued. We're both business owners.

Can you share why you decided to sign the legal contract and any regrets? How has being legally married helped or hurt your relationship and finances?
 

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Hey all! I'm in a committed lifelong partnership. We're unmarried but looking into the possibility of legally tying the knot.

I'd love to learn from some married individuals the pros and cons of being legally marriage and how being married has helped or hurt your partnership and finances.

We've heard that being legally married can be a pain if one of the partners' businesses gets sued. We're both business owners. Turn it into an LLC.

Can you share why you decided to sign the legal contract and any regrets? How has being legally married helped or hurt your relationship and finances?
I like / prefer being legally married. There are a lot of rights and responsibilities embedded in a marriage contract so that you don't have to go through each one by one.

I chuckle at the thought of those who say marriage is just a piece of paper all the while that they are having to make separate agreements --lots of bits of paper -- about how they live with their partner ...... and for what, to protect themselves should they split up.

At my husband's new job, he had to show our marriage certificate before I could be listed on his benefits.

Socially, some people may not see your relationship any more significant than just dating. For formal events like weddings in which married partners must / should be invited, some people take that very literally and refuse to invite the cohabiting partner.

How do you relate to your husband's family? Do they treat you as an exclusive partner of his? Do you imagine what they might do should your husband fall seriously sick?

If he were to die now, do you know what of his you are entitled to? Or do you need a separate piece of paper for that?
 

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IMO, there are very few benefits to legally marrying, and potentially a great many serious downsides.

On the plus side, it's easier to get benefits for your spouse through an employer when you are married. If you both have benefits through employment, you can choose the most cost-effective way to achieve them. You also have the security net of switching if one becomes unemployed. This can be a significant, pragmatic reason to marry.

Another plus - but only if there is a large difference in your annual earnings or lifetime earnings - is that social security retirement will pay the lower-earning spouse benefits at 50% of the rate of the higher-earning spouse, if they've been married at least 10 years. There are also survivor benefits. On the downside of this, if you divorce, you may have to split your assets, and may have to pay alimony for some period of time (for life, in some cases). So, only marry if you truly expect to stay together into retirement, and have a large difference in expected social security benefits.

Social perception of the relationship may be a - somewhat intangible - benefit for some people.

Aside from the above benefits (and in some cases there may also be tax advantages, I suppose), almost everything else that is usually automatic with marriage can be achieved with various legal documents (power of attorney, deeds, medical power of attorney, etc., etc.). The biggest plus to not marrying is the comparative ease of splitting up, versus the financial burdens, time restrictions, and greater adversarial potential of splitting up a legal marriage. Once the state and courts get involved, your ability to decide things for yourself is minimal. Marriage can become a hostage situation!
 

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Have been married twice. Odd since I never had marriage as a goal.

At this time, I don’t see any benefits to it myself. But it depends on the relationship and how it affects them.

For instance I have friends who are about to get married even though they are long distance because it will benefit them in several financial ways if they do it before X date. For them, I see this as a wise move.

Generally speaking, if you marry, you have a 50% chance (or higher) of getting divorced. And that legal hassle is big or small, depending on the couple.

So advise I would give anyone considering marriage is to also consider and research what would happen to you financially in a divorce. Know your states laws. If you live in a state that has a life long spousal support law, I would not marry or live there if you are going to do it.

Research what happens in child custody cases in your state. And like you said, splitting up businesses and stuff like that. Talk to a divorce lawyer and have them spell out for you the best and worst case scenarios.

For me, a committed relationship and even a ceremony is enough, and doesn’t require any state legal documents.
 

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No benefits. Maybe the only benefit is getting on your spouse's insurance but if you are business owners that's not really applicable. Marriage is probably the most risky proposition you will ever undertake in your life and the least rewarding, especially if you are the breadwinner. I would only ever advise it if you are planning on having children.
 

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Most of the bennies I can think of are listed here. The major disadvantage is divorce, if you have more $$.

Those are the tangibles, there is also what it means to you, and while that can be significant, we can't tell you what something means to you.
 

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How deep do you want to explore the rabbit hole?
In many states you don't have to have a marriage license considered married. I believe all states to be that way. Might actually have to show the courts as some don't know there are other ways.
Alot of the marriage license debacle is horn swoggling of those who don't know any better.

With that said we do have one. Only for her peace of mind at the time.
Now if we had, or planned on children there is no way.
We have been talking of getting it annulled and doing it the right way.

It actually depends on what you want.
Just my 2cents.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the feedback everyone! Helpful to hear about that and here's the other piece of our particular situation that we're trying to research...

We're American and are planning on living a good chunk of our lives as expats living in different countries for brief periods of time. We are leaning towards no kids at the moment. Our businesses allow us to be location-independent.

We've heard of unmarried partners who've run into hiccups in visas and immigration because they don't have a marriage certificate. The couple had to be separated or contend with different terms on their visas.

Does anyone have any experience with this or know anyone who does? Whether you were an immigrant or expat somewhere yourself or knew someone who lived that lifestyle?

Really grateful for all your input.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
In case of a lawsuit settlement, does the LLC protect the spouse from having to sell all assets to pay the settlement? We have an LLC but have heard of the married spouse needing to liquidate to pay off the settlement debt. Both partners being bankrupt would be devastating, but if only one is, the other could help float the family. Might be a question for a lawyer...
 

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I like / prefer being legally married. There are a lot of rights and responsibilities embedded in a marriage contract so that you don't have to go through each one by one.

I chuckle at the thought of those who say marriage is just a piece of paper all the while that they are having to make separate agreements --lots of bits of paper -- about how they live with their partner ...... and for what, to protect themselves should they split up.

At my husband's new job, he had to show our marriage certificate before I could be listed on his benefits.

Socially, some people may not see your relationship any more significant than just dating. For formal events like weddings in which married partners must / should be invited, some people take that very literally and refuse to invite the cohabiting partner.

How do you relate to your husband's family? Do they treat you as an exclusive partner of his? Do you imagine what they might do should your husband fall seriously sick?

If he were to die now, do you know what of his you are entitled to? Or do you need a separate piece of paper for that?
In case of a lawsuit settlement, does the LLC protect the spouse from having to sell all assets to pay the settlement? We have an LLC but have heard of the married spouse needing to liquidate to pay off the settlement debt. Both partners being bankrupt would be devastating, but if only one is, the other could help float the family. Might be a question for a lawyer...
 

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In case of a lawsuit settlement, does the LLC protect the spouse from having to sell all assets to pay the settlement? We have an LLC but have heard of the married spouse needing to liquidate to pay off the settlement debt. Both partners being bankrupt would be devastating, but if only one is, the other could help float the family. Might be a question for a lawyer...
You need to ask an attorney who knows about the law in your state.

Perhaps @Taxman can help a bit.
 

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How deep do you want to explore the rabbit hole?
In many states you don't have to have a marriage license considered married. I believe all states to be that way.
The majority of US states don't recognize common law marriage at all.
Common Law Marriage Fact Sheet ? Unmarried Equality
Might actually have to show the courts as some don't know there are other ways.
Alot of the marriage license debacle is horn swoggling of those who don't know any better.

With that said we do have one. Only for her peace of mind at the time.
Now if we had, or planned on children there is no way.
We have been talking of getting it annulled and doing it the right way.

It actually depends on what you want.
Just my 2cents.
Are you saying you are married, and are talking of getting it annulled? That is not straightforward at all, except in some unusual circumstances.
 

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I am not a lawyer, however I am acquainted with the rationale for corporate structures. The term LLC means limited liability corporation. It may be used to shield assets from the potential liability directed at the shareholders. (One client was involved in a personal injury suit, he was sued, and lost. He had no assets, everything was in corporations, as I discovered to fend against something of nature, I dropped the guy) To give an educated response to the above query, first I would need more details, and a lawyer would be necessary that is familiar with the statutes governing corporations for that state. Generally speaking, the LLC would prevent any assets owned by said LLC from being attackable in a divorce. This situation screams for a lawyer, especially as bankruptcy is mentioned, which opens a completely different can of worms. I have seen divorces in the midst of bankruptcy, and they are devastating.
 

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I'm not talking about common law.
Common law marriage is the only way I know of to be married w/o a marriage license, but I don't know everything. Can you explain what you meant by "you don't have to have a marriage license considered married"?
No. She's married to me. :grin2:
You're not married, she's married to you? I don't understand.
 

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Common law marriage is the only way I know of to be married w/o a marriage license, but I don't know everything. Can you explain what you meant by "you don't have to have a marriage license considered married"?

You're not married, she's married to you? I don't understand.
Sadly don't think I will go there, here in the forums. Ever. Unless someone shows to already have a grasp.
Very deep subject. Spending a few years studying state statutes and legalese was an eye opener, and with other studies gave us a different point of view on marriage.


Commendable you show curiosity before judgment.
 

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I was under the impression that an LLC would isolate the assets of the owners of the company from the company itself.

For example, when you do work for someone, you have a contract that says that the LLC is the signer of the contract. If the client has a problem , then he/ she can only sue the LLC not the individual owners.

In any case, look into different company formations that will shield you and your husband from personal liability when doing business.
 

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My husband's employer sent him to France. The only way that I could get a long stay visa in France was to be his spouse since we are both American.

His mother arranged our wedding at the courthouse.
 
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