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Odd PPD Question, Not Sure Where to Post

Maybe because I'm Canadian some of the reasons people have to get married earlier don't make sense. Do the American States not have Common-Law statutes if you live together for a certain number of years or have a child together? 

For instance, FI and I are considered Common-Law because we have a child together which means that we file spousal taxes, claim family benefits and he and our son are covered under my work insurance. He is the beneficiary of my RRSP (equivalent to 401K) and Life Insurance.

This being said, we don't HAVE to get married, we are afforded the same rights and privileges as married people and are taxed thusly. However, we are getting married in our own time, for our own reasons. I just am not understanding why so many people get married quickly then want this big party further down the line. Is Common-Law not a thing in the States?
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Re: Odd PPD Question, Not Sure Where to Post

  • KatieinBklnKatieinBkln (NO SLEEP TIL) Brooklyn!
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    Short answer: it depends on the state, and it's not necessarily automatic.

    The PPD phenomenon may well be an American invention, but it's not because we lack common law statutes.
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  • mikenbergermikenberger In a f'n cornfield
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    Yeah, common law truly varies state by state. 

    Where I live, my FI and I are considered common law because we signed a piece of paper stating that "we have every intention of getting married in the future, but one of us needs insurance now. So we sign this piece of paper that we are accepting the label of common law married." And according to this piece of paper, we have to get divorced formally to undo the common law. Which, I'm actually not sure how that would work since we don't have laws that apply to common law marriages. But there are no laws in my state that differentiate between common law/legally married/just living together a long time. You either are legally married or not. 

    But to my knowledge, having a child or living together for a certain period of time does not automatically make you common law married. It takes filing taxes, joint accounts/mortgages etc to qualify for common law. 

    It's a very gray area and not widely supported in the justice system.

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  • blabla89blabla89 Atlanta
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    It depends on where you live. My state only recognizes common law marriages prior to 1997 and I'm sure some other states don't recognize them at all. Some employers offer domestic partner benefits for unmarried couples who live together, but not all.

    I'm really curious about how this works in Canada, though. What if you have a child with someone you want nothing to do with? Are you still considered their common law spouse, or can that relationship be dissolved?
    Wedding Countdown Ticker



  • In my state, I believe you have to share a residence for 7 years to be considered married under common law, and I'm not sure which rights you would receive at that point. 

    When I first moved in with FI, I hadn't found a job yet, and his insurance would have covered our child if we had one, but would not have covered me, according to his company regulations. 
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  • ashley8918ashley8918 Chicago Suburbs
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    I honestly don't even know if common law exists in my state, or how one would go about being considered common law.
  • The people who claim they HAVE to get married for whatever reason are just full of crap, for starters. You don't HAVE to. If you don't have insurance and need it, you can buy it. They just want it cheaper.

    There's no such thing as common law marriage in my state. However, my employer recognizes unofficial domestic partnerships, so I was able to add my H to my insurance before we were married, just after signing a paper stating we'd lived together for >1 year, intended to keep doing so, were responsible for each other's care should anything happen, etc. As far as taxes were concerned though, still totally single.

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  • Like others have said it varies widely. My state only recognizes common law marriages that were established and recognized prior to 1991.
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  • loveislouderloveislouder
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    edited March 2015
    blabla89 said:

    It depends on where you live. My state only recognizes common law marriages prior to 1997 and I'm sure some other states don't recognize them at all. Some employers offer domestic partner benefits for unmarried couples who live together, but not all.

    I'm really curious about how this works in Canada, though. What if you have a child with someone you want nothing to do with? Are you still considered their common law spouse, or can that relationship be dissolved?

    In Manitoba it goes like this:

    If you live together for 3 consecutive years in a conjugal relationship, you are considered common-law. You must file taxes as such, that kind of thing. If you have a baby with someone and move in together, you are automatically common-law, and don't have to wait the 3 years. OR you can "register" your common-law relationship, and again skip the 3 year wait.

    Lets say you have a child with someone and are living together, thus are in a common-law relationship and are filing taxes as such. If the relationship ends, you move out, it takes 3 years to dissolve a common-law relationship.  No one really follows that rule though. Most people move out and consider themselves single again.

    ETA: Typos.

  • In our province if you are living together at the time that your child is born and you have not been separated for more than three months within a 12 month period, you are considered Common-Law and must file taxes as such. It affects our "Baby Bonus". You must declare your change in marital status at the time that your child is born if you and your partner live together or you can be penalized tax wise.

    If you don't have a child, if you live with someone for 3 or more years and have not been separated for more than 3 months within a 12 month period, you can be considered Common-law and file taxes accordingly. 

    There is no paperwork per se, it's all done through Revenue Canada when you do your yearly taxes.
  • blabla89 said:

    It depends on where you live. My state only recognizes common law marriages prior to 1997 and I'm sure some other states don't recognize them at all. Some employers offer domestic partner benefits for unmarried couples who live together, but not all.

    I'm really curious about how this works in Canada, though. What if you have a child with someone you want nothing to do with? Are you still considered their common law spouse, or can that relationship be dissolved?

     You don't have to "dissolve" common-law relationships, you can just leave. If you have a house or a child, you may have to go to court for that but there is no separation paperwork to file. It's not a "marriage" per se but you have all the rights afforded to people who are married. 
  • CT doesn't have common law either.

    And if you have a child, you're legally required to pay child support even if you don't stay with the mother.

    BUT, my understanding is that while you can be mandated by a court, good luck getting that when the parent isn't in the state and can't be found.   Even better luck getting it when the dirtbag parent works under the table jobs in order to not file taxes in order to not be found.

    I know of someone in my state who has an ex-h in FL.     The enforcement of the child support by the state is ridic and therefore she's often caught without any contribution from him.

  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago
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    edited March 2015

    I honestly don't even know if common law exists in my state, or how one would go about being considered common law.

    Illinois is not a common law state. About half the states have common law.
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  • Bottom line, I think even if every state in the US did have common law marriage where all you have to do is share a residence with someone and sign a paper and then you get the insurance or whatever it is you "need," people would still have PPDs. 

    The actual cause of PPDs, IMO, is the sense of entitlement, the need to be the big center of attention, the disregard for other people's feelings (in the cases where it's lied about), and the wedding industry saying YOU'RE NOT REALLY MARRIED UNLESS YOU WEAR THE DESIGNER DRESS AND HAVE THE GIANT FANCY CAKE AND SPEND $50030405050403 
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  • ashley8918ashley8918 Chicago Suburbs
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    edited March 2015
    KatWAG said:

    I honestly don't even know if common law exists in my state, or how one would go about being considered common law.

    Illinois is not a common law state. About half the state have common law.
    Huh, see, I had no idea! I actually had never heard of common law before I watched Baby Mama hahaha
    emmaaa
  • mikenbergermikenberger In a f'n cornfield
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    I'm common law married but I don't at all consider myself married. I didn't sign a marriage license and my "marriage" isn't public record. Just for the sake of insurance. It's really weird and hard to explain, but when push comes to shove, I am not married. I will be in about 30 days though :)

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  • I'm common law married but I don't at all consider myself married. I didn't sign a marriage license and my "marriage" isn't public record. Just for the sake of insurance. It's really weird and hard to explain, but when push comes to shove, I am not married. I will be in about 30 days though :)

    32!! :) 
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    themuffinman16
  • mikenbergermikenberger In a f'n cornfield
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    I'm common law married but I don't at all consider myself married. I didn't sign a marriage license and my "marriage" isn't public record. Just for the sake of insurance. It's really weird and hard to explain, but when push comes to shove, I am not married. I will be in about 30 days though :)

    32!! :) 
    lol stop it!! Stop it right now.


    And I'm not spending $50030405050403 on my wedding. Damnit.

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    novella1186
  • I'm common law married but I don't at all consider myself married. I didn't sign a marriage license and my "marriage" isn't public record. Just for the sake of insurance. It's really weird and hard to explain, but when push comes to shove, I am not married. I will be in about 30 days though :)

    32!! :) 
    lol stop it!! Stop it right now.


    And I'm not spending $50030405050403 on my wedding. Damnit.


    Then you might as well start planning your re-do right now 
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    themuffinman16
  • Bottom line, I think even if every state in the US did have common law marriage where all you have to do is share a residence with someone and sign a paper and then you get the insurance or whatever it is you "need," people would still have PPDs. 


    The actual cause of PPDs, IMO, is the sense of entitlement, the need to be the big center of attention, the disregard for other people's feelings (in the cases where it's lied about), and the wedding industry saying YOU'RE NOT REALLY MARRIED UNLESS YOU WEAR THE DESIGNER DRESS AND HAVE THE GIANT FANCY CAKE AND SPEND $50030405050403 
    DING DING DING DING DING!

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  • People would still have PPDs even if common law marriage were more of a thing, there are a host of reasons people do it that don't always include filing taxes or insurance or anything so I don't think you can equate the two.  Perhaps if there were stronger common law marriage laws people might not get married because they "have to" for some of the benefits you mentioned, but even then I think some states are 7 years...someone might not want to wait 7 years for that and will choose to get legally married because they don't want to wait 7 years to be recognized that way.
  • jenna8984jenna8984 clam bakes & patriots
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    Like others have said, it's not in most states. But even the ones that do have it, it's kind of known as an outdated blue law type of thing that means nothing. You would never be REQUIRED to file state taxes married, as it sounds like you in Canada are required to. Actually I'm fairly certain that (in US) you have to file your state and federal taxes with the same marital status. So since the federal government doesn't recognize common law and makes you put single, you'd have to claim the same on your state.

    And no, the majority of health insurances will not cover a live-in significant other without being legally married. A few do, like Lolo883 said she was able to, but that's considered outstanding since most do not.

                                                                     

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  • Common law marriage actually stems from westward expansion/exploration- since there weren't enough government officials or religious officials in the new western territories, they had to come up with another way to allow people to marry. So the common law became: if you lived with someone for x period of time and if you held yourself out to married to that person, than you would be common law married and there's no legal difference between a common law marriage and an officiated marriage (at least in the US). However, while about half the states recognize common law marriages, only a handful still allow you to form a common law marriage.

    One of the key requirements of common law marriage in every state (that allows it) is that you Intend to marry through common law. So you have to present yourself as a married couple for all intents and purposes. It doesn't just "automatically" happen if you live with your SO for x number of years. You have to refer to yourselves as a married couple and usually that also requires some sort of proof of living together, joint bank accounts, etc. 
    KatieinBklnnovella1186ohannabelle
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta
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    edited March 2015
    The US notion of common law is very different than the Canadian one. That's why so many states have moved toward eliminating it completely. It just doesn't make sense today. 

    The big difference is that the couple has to have "held themselves out" as husband and wife for however long. It wasn't just 7 years of living with your boyfriend and then poof, you're common law married. 

    The typical example was a couple who decided to get married, but didn't have a legal ceremony. Maybe the officiant didn't have a license or maybe they just didn't think about it. Today, the legal part is just part of the marriage process, and keeping records are part of life. That wasn't really the case 100+ years ago when common law was recognized in most places and used more frequently. 
  • melbensomelbenso Hoth, apparently
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    edited March 2015
    Most states stopped recognizing common law marriages in the 90s.  That being said, even when they did recognize them, most (if not all) did not do so to the extent described by you, OP.  Things like being on each others' insurance still require a marriage license (ETA - assuming that the insurance policy requires "marriage"), at least as far as I am aware.  Many people in the States who are common law married (many states didn't recognize the marriages going forward when they changed the law, but still allowed existing common law marriages to stand) have to fight for benefits including insurance, retirement/pensions, and government benefits due to spouses.
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  • Thank you all for your responses. I was getting very confused when I was reading some of the anecdotes about having to have a quick ceremony for "Insurance Purposes". When I filled out my insurance paperwork at work I just checked the "Common-law" box and filled out my partner's name. 

    I do agree that if presented with the option of a PPD there are some people that will do it no matter what. 
  • Very interesting discussion! I'm in Canada as well, and both my employer and my boyfriends will allow us to be on each others benefits after 1 yr of living together. I believe in AB to considered common law it is 3 years living together.
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  • Thank you all for your responses. I was getting very confused when I was reading some of the anecdotes about having to have a quick ceremony for "Insurance Purposes". When I filled out my insurance paperwork at work I just checked the "Common-law" box and filled out my partner's name. 


    I do agree that if presented with the option of a PPD there are some people that will do it no matter what. 
    Oh, girl. Anytime you find yourself imagining that the health insurance process in the US is in any way simple, smooth, or easy, feel free to go ahead and imagine the exact opposite of that. Then you'll be a bit closer to what it's like to navigate the system down here...
    I've heard!!! It makes me want to bitch slap people who whine about our system up here! Especially if you have a baby. I had a high risk pregnancy and was followed by an OB, neurologist, haemotolgist, immunologist and my own family doctor. I had Ultrasounds every 4 weeks and was in the hospital for 48 hours when my son was born. He's 2, I would still be paying for his birth if I was in the States. 
  • mikenbergermikenberger In a f'n cornfield
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    Thank you all for your responses. I was getting very confused when I was reading some of the anecdotes about having to have a quick ceremony for "Insurance Purposes". When I filled out my insurance paperwork at work I just checked the "Common-law" box and filled out my partner's name. 


    I do agree that if presented with the option of a PPD there are some people that will do it no matter what. 
    Oh, girl. Anytime you find yourself imagining that the health insurance process in the US is in any way simple, smooth, or easy, feel free to go ahead and imagine the exact opposite of that. Then you'll be a bit closer to what it's like to navigate the system down here...
    I've heard!!! It makes me want to bitch slap people who whine about our system up here! Especially if you have a baby. I had a high risk pregnancy and was followed by an OB, neurologist, haemotolgist, immunologist and my own family doctor. I had Ultrasounds every 4 weeks and was in the hospital for 48 hours when my son was born. He's 2, I would still be paying for his birth if I was in the States. 

    This really varies from insurance policy to insurance policy. One of my FI's coworkers had a similar pregnancy: $500 for everything out of pocket. And they used their HSA for all of the expense. It's a pretty rare case, but it still happens. Not all insurance in the US sucks - but they're all a pain in the ass to get into place when you need them. (And I'm not sticking up for the insurance system. They're all a pain in the ass.)

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  • Thank you all for your responses. I was getting very confused when I was reading some of the anecdotes about having to have a quick ceremony for "Insurance Purposes". When I filled out my insurance paperwork at work I just checked the "Common-law" box and filled out my partner's name. 


    I do agree that if presented with the option of a PPD there are some people that will do it no matter what. 
    Oh, girl. Anytime you find yourself imagining that the health insurance process in the US is in any way simple, smooth, or easy, feel free to go ahead and imagine the exact opposite of that. Then you'll be a bit closer to what it's like to navigate the system down here...
    I've heard!!! It makes me want to bitch slap people who whine about our system up here! Especially if you have a baby. I had a high risk pregnancy and was followed by an OB, neurologist, haemotolgist, immunologist and my own family doctor. I had Ultrasounds every 4 weeks and was in the hospital for 48 hours when my son was born. He's 2, I would still be paying for his birth if I was in the States. 
    This really varies from insurance policy to insurance policy. One of my FI's coworkers had a similar pregnancy: $500 for everything out of pocket. And they used their HSA for all of the expense. It's a pretty rare case, but it still happens. Not all insurance in the US sucks - but they're all a pain in the ass to get into place when you need them. (And I'm not sticking up for the insurance system. They're all a pain in the ass.)

    I'm just going on the fact that I was unemployed at the time of my son's birth and my partner didn't have auxiliary insurance through work so we were only going through our provincial program. I didn't have to pay for doctors, hospital visits or stays or medication in the hospital, but any prescriptions at home or if I wanted a semi-private or private room at the hospital would have to have been paid for out-of-pocket.
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