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Being married...but not legally married?


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Old 4th May 2009, 11:06 PM   #1
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Being married...but not legally married?

Has anyone done this before... gotten married (having a wedding reception, wearing rings) but not signed any legal documentation?

With the divorce rate at more than 50%.....isn't that the best way to be married without the ugly consequences of a divorce? Shouldn't couples find their own definition of marriage? Whether it be religiously or legally or neither...should couples just be married just because they say they are? And because they feel it and believe it?

My bf doesn't mind getting engaged or having a wedding ceremony.....but he's hesitant to be legally married. I understand this because realistically, we don't know how either of us will change.....so I think the only way to avoid an ugly divorce is to not get the government involved - but to be married under our own terms. But I was wondering if others have done this before.
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Old 5th May 2009, 12:12 AM   #2
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Just so you know, without being legally married you will not receive any of the benefits that come from being married such as various tax breaks and other privileges. You should do a search on the benefits of marriage and see if you are OK with not getting them.

I wonder if you can even have somebody officiate (marry you) without a marriage license. You'll need to look into it.
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Old 5th May 2009, 6:41 AM   #3
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Hmm, well even if you chose not to be legally married, you would still have a common law marriage, therefore having to divide assessts among you if a break up was to occur.

Another thought popped into my head though, that you are chosing not to marry to avoid an ugly divorce. Why do you not have faith that you will be together forever?
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Old 5th May 2009, 7:13 AM   #4
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How about setting up prenups that spell out EVERYTHING so "ugly" doesn't enter the equation when it comes time for the divorce?
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Old 5th May 2009, 7:19 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by oceangrl View Post
Has anyone done this before... gotten married (having a wedding reception, wearing rings) but not signed any legal documentation?

With the divorce rate at more than 50%.....isn't that the best way to be married without the ugly consequences of a divorce? Shouldn't couples find their own definition of marriage? Whether it be religiously or legally or neither...should couples just be married just because they say they are? And because they feel it and believe it?

My bf doesn't mind getting engaged or having a wedding ceremony.....but he's hesitant to be legally married. I understand this because realistically, we don't know how either of us will change.....so I think the only way to avoid an ugly divorce is to not get the government involved - but to be married under our own terms. But I was wondering if others have done this before.
Some states recognize, common law marriage some states don't, you'll want to look into that. Also do you want to have children? Will you stay home with them? This another thing to consider.
As to your question I'd imagine its different from state to state, and from what little I've read can be disputed in the case of a divorce. Here's something I found.
http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=510089
"(d) The fact of issue of any unrecorded marriage license may be
established by affidavit of either party to a ceremonial marriage,
which affidavit shall set forth the date, the place, and the name and
title of the official issuing the license."

That's the law in Georgia so I'd imagine it can get tricky, have you considered prenuptial agreement?

Last edited by BUENG1; 5th May 2009 at 7:21 AM..
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Old 5th May 2009, 8:46 AM   #6
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I know people who have had commitment ceremonies, mostly because the woman wanted to buy a wedding dress and have a big party without having to be "legally" married.

But they didn't call it being married. They called it being committed.

If you want to be married, then get married. But if you don't want to get married, don't blow off the institution of marrriage but still borrow the name to give your union some sort of legitimacy..

Either you are married, or you are not.
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Old 5th May 2009, 4:10 PM   #7
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i know plenty of people who've had commitment ceremonies, myself, and they were all gay couples who could not legally marry however much they wanted to, and took that as an alternative. they all registered domestic partnerships and called each other 'husbands' or 'wives' and as far as i'm concerned, that's what they were, because it was in their hearts and they would have been if they could.

my partner and i were recently handfasted in a non-legal 'marriage' ceremony by a dear friend who is a priestess in a religion where handfastings are common. he is an atheist and i'm agnostic, but we respect my wiccan priestess friend's beliefs and wanted a symbolic ceremony with just our closest friends, conducted by somebody who knows and loves us rather than a strange minister picked at random out of the yellow pages. my partner and i have been together for 4 years now, we have joint bank accounts and are considered domestic partners by our insurance companies, we have an infant son together and joint-custody of his older daughter from a previous relationship, and we've been symbolically bound together ceremonially...i consider us very united, partners in every way.

but, he ain't my husband yet. we're getting legally hitched this fall, with only our parents and kids in attendance, and then going on a real honeymoon. we WANT the legal commitment, and consider that something necessary to finalize being actually married. making the commitment, taking the risks, becoming a legally bound family, is an important distinction to us.

there's nothing wrong with getting a commitment ceremony and keeping your relationship on a different playing field...the ceremony can be beautiful, and meaningful, and you might be very emotionally/spiritually pledged to your man and he to you, and that's all good, that's great. but i personally believe that if you have the opportunity to take those legal steps and you don't because you don't want them and all their potential ramifications, then you shouldn't call yourself married or call your ceremony a wedding. call yourselves committed, or partnered, or united, whatever you like. personally i usually refer to my man as my partner, but sometimes i call him my gentleman caller, or my proto-husband, or Der InseminatOr.

but i look forward to calling him my husband.
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Old 5th May 2009, 4:15 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Lucky_One View Post
I know people who have had commitment ceremonies, mostly because the woman wanted to buy a wedding dress and have a big party without having to be "legally" married.

But they didn't call it being married. They called it being committed.

If you want to be married, then get married. But if you don't want to get married, don't blow off the institution of marrriage but still borrow the name to give your union some sort of legitimacy..

Either you are married, or you are not.
Thank you! Totally agree.

What's this world coming to...having babies out of wedlock, getting married with no license..sheesh! I guess I'm getting old and I'm just old-fashioned.
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Old 5th May 2009, 4:15 PM   #9
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Anything you are happy with regarding committing your relationship is fine. But an engagement and wedding reception are for ...weddings.
Certainly they can both be incorporated in some form of any commitment ceremony...

But you cannot imply to your guests that you are "getting married" without getting married. For example, having engagement parties, bridal showers, even a wedding reception implies a traditional wedding. If your guests are under the assumption that you are getting married but you arent.....

Thats called a fund raiser or a gift grab. Its like stealing from your family with a sense of entitlement.

Just be honest, tell them its a commitment ceremony and let them celebrate with you honestly.
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Old 5th May 2009, 4:56 PM   #10
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Thank you! Totally agree.

What's this world coming to...having babies out of wedlock, getting married with no license..sheesh! I guess I'm getting old and I'm just old-fashioned.

i'm pretty sure people were having babies out of wedlock long before you were born, touche.
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Old 5th May 2009, 5:03 PM   #11
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i'm pretty sure people were having babies out of wedlock long before you were born, touche.
Touche'!

But you know what I mean. It's pretty much accepted and very common now.
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Old 5th May 2009, 5:19 PM   #12
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i'm pretty sure people were having babies out of wedlock long before you were born, touche.
I was one of those babies.

I suppose my mother bastardized "motherhood" the way gays have ruined marriage for heteros.
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Old 5th May 2009, 5:41 PM   #13
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Touche'!

But you know what I mean. It's pretty much accepted and very common now.

i did know what you meant.

but sitting here with my beautiful, healthy, innocent, 'illegitimate' five-month-old on my lap chewing on his fist, whose father i will gladly be marrying in october, i can't help but be grateful for the de-stigmatization, for his sake.

i do believe in the institution of marriage, but i don't think it needs to concern itself with anyone's sexuality, and i do think kids can be raised successfully outside of it. my partner and i are marrying for a host of legal and symbolic reasons, but not to legitimize our son, who will be well taken care of no matter what his parents' marital status. i know that's not always the case, but i don't think that social stigmatization is the way to go towards helping babies who need additional parental support.

that being said, sorry to turn a throwaway comment into a threadjack-y soapbox rant.
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Old 5th May 2009, 5:43 PM   #14
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I was one of those babies.

I suppose my mother bastardized "motherhood" the way gays have ruined marriage for heteros.
i hope you're not trying to fit those words in MY mouth.
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Old 5th May 2009, 5:47 PM   #15
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i hope you're not trying to fit those words in MY mouth.
Nope. I was being facetious towards someone else's comment about children out of wedlock.

I don't think it's anyone's place to put boundaries or rules or limitations on how other people choose to bind themselves to other people, whether legally, spiritually, or familially.
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