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Old 05-23-2011, 02:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Old 05-23-2011, 08:23 AM
 
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There really aren't that many legal ramifications of not being married.  You may not be able to get his health insurance, life insurance, etc., but that probably varies by the area. 

 

The ramifications are not really legal, they're emotional.  IMO, you should make that long term commitment once you get children involved.  Between his DD who's already had a lot of hardship and your new baby, it's really important that this relationship works out.  If you're married, the you're more likely to try to work through issues that if you're not.  If you and your DP break up, you may never get to see this little girl that calls you mommy again..  I've seen it happen many times, it's SO heartbreaking. 

 

I have a child from a previous relationship and in many ways I'm thankful that his bio dad has never been involved.  It allows my DS to have a stable family.  I would encourage you to make this life as stable as possible for these babies.  Children deserve to have 2 parents that are committed to each other.  It's a very hard thing to see before you've actually had your own child.

 

To me, having a child with someone is way more of a commitment than marriage.  You can walk away from a marriage, but you're stuck with the father of your child for the rest of your life. 

 

Best wishes.


Abra, Married to George, Mother to DS 12/03 & DD1 08/09 & DD2 12/11 + Someone New in May 2015! After years of planning, we are finally living our dream in South America!!
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Old 05-23-2011, 10:06 AM
 
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I think Abra summed it up perfectly, for me at least. smile.gif


~Iris~ Catholic mama to DD1 11/15/05 * DD2 04/28/08 * brokenheart.gif06/23/2010 * and our little rainbow DS 10/07/11 love.gif
 

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Old 05-23-2011, 12:13 PM
 
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DF and I are not married yet. the only real legal ramification has been having to do paperwork to get his name put on the birth certificate, and I usually do all the medical signatures, etc. 

 

and I don't necessarily agree that marriage makes people work harder at staying together, I think you can have a high level of commitment either way. and I've known some married couples who after a few years had a very low level of commitment to keeping the relationship going. 


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Old 05-23-2011, 12:52 PM
 
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DH and I are common-law married, but as the meaning and proving of that varies by state, for all intents and purposes we more legally fall under domestic partner laws, which allows me to carry him on insurance, etc. For the purposes of our insurance, for example, we just have to prove that we are cohabitating (at least one joint bill) and we signed an affadavit. My parents had also some reservations about our lack of marriage certificate, but as most states do have domestic partner laws that we would fall under, there really isn't, to my mind, much to recommend the addition of the state marriage certification - unless you really want that. (FWIW we did get married, by a preacher in front of family and friends - we didn't question the level of commitment for marriage, but rather the state's involvement in that commitment)

 

As far as ramifications for any children, I don't know that there are. regardless of marriage, if the two of you do not stay together, I believe you can still claim child support, so long as there is documentation that the child(ren) are his . . . I would think most of the ramifications, such as they are, only happen should you not stay together.

 

 


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Old 05-23-2011, 01:25 PM
 
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One thing to consider and really look into in your state is about custody issues. In some states, if the dad is on the birth certificate but there is no custody order in place, either parent can legally take the child and leave. So if he gets upset at you he could take the baby and move out somewhere else and you would have a huge legal battle on your hands. Other than that, there's not really any legal ramifications. I was not married to my ex when my ds was born, but ex was on ds's birth certificate (we both had to sign an affidavet (sp?) of parentage at the hospital). I left ex when ds was less than 2 months old. When ds was about 8 months old we went to court and got custody resolved (he never had ds alone before that so I wasn't worried about him taking ds and leaving before custody was established). At that same time, child support was automatically filed as well.


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Old 05-23-2011, 04:00 PM
 
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You know, it's funny, I've been married for 7 years and have only had to prove it when I changed my name on my drivers liscence, etc. I'm on DH's insurance from work, my DD has his name, we have a house together etc. No one has ever checked to see if we are actually married. Weird.

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Old 05-23-2011, 07:34 PM
 
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I agree, marriage does not always equal commitment.  I do know people who do not believe in marriage that are very committed to each other.  However, if you believe in marriage, I think it's a good cause to get married for the sake of children.  Many people that I know that were "waiting to see if they 'should' get married" are separated now.  There was no real level of commitment, so when one thing went wrong the relationships failed.  The vow of commitment to each other is the most important aspect, marriage or not.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marissamom View Post

DF and I are not married yet. the only real legal ramification has been having to do paperwork to get his name put on the birth certificate, and I usually do all the medical signatures, etc. 

 

and I don't necessarily agree that marriage makes people work harder at staying together, I think you can have a high level of commitment either way. and I've known some married couples who after a few years had a very low level of commitment to keeping the relationship going. 



 


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Old 05-24-2011, 03:52 PM
 
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My DP and I have been together 7 years and we're not married!  DD1 is nearly 3 and DD2 is due in 2 months.  I have never, ever come up against any repercussions because we're unmarried; legal, financial, or social.  Nobody cares.  ;)  

 

Most of the time, really, we just introduce each other as "husband" or "wife" anyway.  All we lack is an expensive ceremony that neither of us is very interested in.  At this stage, if we were to break up it would be every bit as legally difficult as if we were "officially" married in terms of dividing assets and children, so I don't see what could possibly change if we actually got married.


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Old 05-24-2011, 10:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marissamom View Post

DF and I are not married yet. the only real legal ramification has been having to do paperwork to get his name put on the birth certificate, and I usually do all the medical signatures, etc. 

 

and I don't necessarily agree that marriage makes people work harder at staying together, I think you can have a high level of commitment either way. and I've known some married couples who after a few years had a very low level of commitment to keeping the relationship going. 


This is us as well. We don't believe in marriage...we're committed to each other, but we don't need the legal hassle of GETTING married or whatever to prove that to ourselves, you know? When I had ds, we had to fill out a ridiculous amount of paperwork to get DP on the birth certificate...and...they lost it all. *sigh* SO, we had to refile everything MONTHS later, and to this day, I still have no idea if ds actually has a birth certificate...much less one with his father's name on it! lol I guess I'll eventually have to figure that one out. 

 

Other than that, we just introduce ourselves as husband and wife anyway, and no one bats and eye...I think you'll find that all the legalities ect...just won't have as big an impact as the emotional outcome of a break-up. It's something to seriously keep in mind if the reason why you're not getting married is really because you 'don't know each other enough yet to committ long-term.' 

 


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Old 05-27-2011, 12:03 AM
 
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I can't think of any legal ramifications as long as you are together and agreeing on everything.  However, if something should happen in a few years, depending on how much you guys can't agree on in terms of the child, there could be legal ramifications.  (I only mention that because you mentioned in the OP that the mother is considered the primary custodian.  There has been a movement in the past couple of years, at least in this part of Tennessee, that father's rights are not to be diminished.)  Also, in Tennessee, legal custody and physical custody are two different things.

 

Child support is set by a formula...all of the numbers go into the formula (amount of parenting time each parent has, income, blah blah), and it spits out the magic child support number, so there's no give or take in that department.  (Although I would imagine that if the person paying child support sent MORE money, the judge wouldn't exactly frown on that.  ;) )

 

What happens if something comes between you two after this child is born, and you clash with his next partner?  You would, at that point, depending on what the clash involves, be able to go to court to fight over it.  (Some custody agreements have stipulations about the child being exposed to people the parents are dating, the level of exposure, etc.)  Who covers the child for insurance purposes, who is responsible for co-pays and daycare costs and sports fees and extracurricular activities, who gets the child on particular holidays, restrictions on out of city/county/state/country travel...they are all covered in a custody agreement that happens during divorces or child custody suits.  Some cover what religion the child will practice, what particular type of school he/she will go to, etc.  Courts are usually happy for a custody agreement to be very detailed and not leave much up to whims.  Without a custody agreement to be enforced, things could get messy.  (Thinking of cases like Sean Goldman, who was taken to Brazil by his mother, technically perfectly legally, and while she was still married to Sean's father, and his father fought a tough, uphill, expensive battle to get his child back after she died.)

 

You may run into issues with things like passports (both parents have to be present, or with an air-tight, documented reason why the second parent is not giving consent for the passport in person needs to be provided, and even then, the passport office can deny the application.)  There are things you would never think of until it comes up. 

 

If you think there may be issues, it wouldn't be bad to hammer out an agreement and have it looked over/prepared by an attorney and notarized for "just in case" purposes.  I would consider it similar to a prenuptial agreement.  Templates for custody agreements are available on a couple of counties' court systems' websites for download, so you can see what goes into one.  Even having a custody agreement ahead of time, though, doesn't prevent him or you from challenging it, should he/you need to do so for any reason via the court system.


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Old 05-27-2011, 10:25 AM
 
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This thread is really making me question the importance of civil marriage. I'm Catholic and marriage is very important to me. In fact, I know that no matter what, I'm in a valid marriage and could never seek an annulment. So, I'm stuck with DH (which is fine by me, because he's the greatest man ever:joy). But seriously, it seems like the state marriage contract doesn't really offer any protection or real benefits. You can get a divorce for any reason, and it seems like you can easily give your estate over to a non spouse. So.....what's the point of a state marriage? Maybe we should just get rid of state marriage all together and let people draw up their own legal contracts when they are ready to commit. I actually think people would take marriage more seriously if they really had to define it themselves. IDK. Anyway, this is way OT!

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Old 05-29-2011, 08:25 AM
 
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I completely agree, ScottishMommy.  There are lots of great reasons to get married, but I don't understand the desire to introduce the civil legal system into your relationship.  If you're religious, involve your church, temple, etc.  If your family/community is very important to you, involve your family and community.  But I don't know why people are so excited to involve the state courts.

 

Anyway, my partner and I aren't married and have no plans to do so.  We'll do whatever we need to do to have him on the birth certificate and we've decided that she'll have his last name, but our primary concern is what would happen if one or both of us were to die or become incapacitated.  We're drafting wills to make sure that our assets go to our daughter but allow the surviving parent to be the trustee of those assets.  Even without a will, most state intestate laws would have a parent's assets going to the child if there is no spouse, but probably wouldn't automatically allow the non-spouse parent to have any control over those assets.  This way our finances go for the benefit of our daughter, but the surviving parent would have control over those assets until our daughter is an adult.  We're also indicating who we would want to get guardianship.  Without a will, if something happened to one of us then the other would probably automatically get custody/guardianship.  But if something happens to both of us, we want to know who will take care of her.  In the absence of a will, a court would probably pick one of our brothers to have guardianship, but that is NOT what we would pick!  And we've decided that each year we'll figure out who will benefit more from claiming her as a deduction on their tax return and that person will claim her.  If we were married a lot of this stuff would just happen automatically, but without being married we have to purposefully make decisions about what we want and memorialize those wishes.  Personally, I think that everyone should think about these issues more than they do and not just rely on their state's legal system to have worked it out for them.  Most people probably have no idea what their state laws have to say about any of these issues, and might be surprised if they did know what they said.

 

As you can see, our advance planning doesn't address the 'what if he and I split up voluntarily?' question.  And that's because I don't think that anyone can prepare for that scenario, married or not.  So long as he's on the birth certificate and has been an active part of the child's life, he has legal rights to the child just as much as you do.  You'll have to negotiate some sort of custody and child support arrangement that works for the three of you, but you can't decide something like that in advance.  Unless a couple is incredibly lucky and gets along great throughout the break-up, dealing with custody and child support will suck, whether you're divorcing or 'just' breaking-up.  The financial and guardianship stuff can be worked out by contract in advance, the personal stuff can't.

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Old 05-30-2011, 02:30 PM
 
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I haven't encountered any legal ramifications yet. 


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