Military Brides

Dilemma

So, my fiance is in the army but he gets out next October. We are planning on having our wedding Oct 27th; he wants to wait. So we're steadily scrimping and saving our money and then, whammy, the army decides they want to take 385 bucks from every check because he, supposedly, got BAS over two years ago when he wasn't supposed to. and we JUST reserved our venue This was money we were putting back and, I tend to freak about finances, now it may be gone. He went to JAG to fight it but we don't know if he'll have to pay it all back or not. I suggested we get married now in order to collect BAH and BAS and put that money away for the wedding. He's very against it morally; he wants us to have a real wedding. To me, it would only be on paper until our ceremony. What do you guys think? I think being married is more than simply signing a paper so, to me, I don't see an issue with doing this. I would still keep my name and everything the same and I told him no one would know but us and the army. And I know contract marriages are bad but it wouldn't technically be that since we are engaged. Opinons ladies?
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Re: Dilemma

  • calindicalindi member
    5000 Comments Second Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_military-brides_dilemma?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:13Discussion:20b3d837-eb1e-4e4b-b5ee-9b391b68dd99Post:ece3430f-c942-4bbf-b586-db1048b50b08">Dilemma</a>:
    [QUOTE]So, my fiance is in the army but he gets out next October. We are planning on having our wedding Oct 27th; he wants to wait. So we're steadily scrimping and saving our money and then, whammy, the army decides they want to take 385 bucks from every check because he, supposedly, got BAS over two years ago when he wasn't supposed to. and we JUST reserved our venue This was money we were putting back and, I tend to freak about finances, now it may be gone. He went to JAG to fight it but we don't know if he'll have to pay it all back or not. I suggested we get married now in order to collect BAH and BAS and put that money away for the wedding. He's very against it morally; he wants us to have a real wedding. To me, it would only be on paper until our ceremony. What do you guys think? I think being married is more than simply signing a paper so, to me, I don't see an issue with doing this. I would still keep my name and everything the same and I told him no one would know but us and the army. And I know contract marriages are bad but it wouldn't technically be that since we are engaged. Opinons ladies?
    Posted by hansonam446[/QUOTE]

    I'm sorry they threw that on you - it really sucks, and there's no way you can prevent that (well, except being really, really, really diligent on what you're owed and what you're not owed).  Chances are there's nothing you can do about the deductions now.

    I think that "signing a paper" is the day you get legally married (okay, I don't 'think', I know!), and I know that my parents would be incredibly hurt if they weren't there the day I get married.  I get it if you wanted to have a "legal wedding" and a "religious wedding" if you wanted to have it in a church later and be married in the eyes of God or whatever diety you believe in, but if you're not religious then it would really just a day where you pretend to get married. 

    I think it trivializes it to say it's "just paper".  I agree with your FI, and would you want to rob him of the experience of knowing that the day he sees you walking down the aisle is the day you become his wife?  Would you want to deceive your family and friends into believing they are witnessing you get married, when you have in fact been married for months?  Presenting yourself as anything other than a married couple when you are accepting benefits for being married is fraud, and is definitely punishable as a contract marriage (though it's unlikely, it's a gray zone and not looked upon very highly by most chains of command).

    I would recommend getting a second job, or holding a yard sale, or cutting back on other items for your wedding or honeymoon to make up for the difference.  It definitely sucks, and I'm really sorry you have to go through it, but I think it's a far better option than lying to your family and friends.

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  • edited December 2011
    Oh I understand his point of view completely! I agree with him. I got married at a courthouse the first time when I was 19 and it was a mistake. Not only because of that but also because of the guy I married...don't get me started! So this time around I want everything to be perfect. I want it to be everything I didn't have before. Well my mom actually suggested it since she's somewhat familiar with how military marriages work so she would know. He and I have hashed it out before and it came down to a last resort type of thing but it's pretty tempting when I'm pulling my hair out over bills and planning and we could have extra money rolling in. We have a roommate, we know how to save, and I have fairly good credit so we have options but I just like having that extra security. I'm just angry that they're trying to come after the money two years later for something that was their problem in the first place! He JUST got his pay fixed after it being messed up for the whole year he was deployed, now it's like they're just taking it all back again.

    Thank you for your advice though. It's nice to get others' thoughts on the situation.
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  • freebread03freebread03 member
    1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary 250 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    Ditto what Calindi said.  It's really not just "signing a paper"--being legally married symbolizes well, being married, and saying that it doesn't implies that you're devaluing those women who DID make the choice to do a JOP.

    Don't do something that you may regret later, and definitely don't begin your married life with a lie.  Look for other ways to save money so that you can have the day that you want.  It's really unfortunate that you're in this situation, but you'll get through it and make your day happen--and I'm sure it will be beautiful :)
  • calindicalindi member
    5000 Comments Second Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    If you need extra ideas on how/where to save money, check out the Budget Brides board.  Seriously!  And the DIY page.  I was about to pay $1.25 per magnet for my save the dates (which was a pretty good price, I thought).  Using a code that I got off the DIY board, I had them printed on Vistaprint for free, just $6 for shipping, and then I attached them to magnets myself.  Total cost was around $0.35 per magnet, $35 total for 100 magnets!

    I totally get why you're frustrated, but it sounds like you guys won't be in a desperate situation.  I really don't think you'll regret waiting until your planned date to get married, but I think it could really backfire on you if you try to deceive people by being secretly married.  If it's so important that you get married now, then you should be able to explain it to your family and friends.  It's perfectly acceptable to say, "We got married sooner due to challenges from the military, but we still want to celebrate with you all in October!"  It's a whole lot better than them finding out, which they probably will.  Some will not come, some will wonder what was so important that you jumped the gun, and some will support your decision.  I think your reasoning, though, is not going to convince everyone - it's hard to say, "Hey, we got married sooner so we could get an extra $X per month, but we still want a wedding!"

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  • edited December 2011
    That sucks that they didn't catch that to begin with, but to be fair, neither did your Fi... Finances are something H and I don't mess with either. We know where every single penny goes, so we'de be really aware if we suddenly had extra pennies :P
    Ok.. that's besides the point.
    Fact is, your Fi is morally against the "paper" (which by the way.. is  a marriage. It means A LOT to those of us that aren't religious.. so that's slightly offensive..) so you don't get much of a say. It's HIS career and HIS pay check, and if he doesn't feel comfortable stealing from the military, then don't push it on him.

    ETA: You may see a marriage as something more than just signing this document, but many don't and the miliary is one of them. As the military is the company that recognizes that marriage contract and gives extra money for it, I think you should really consider your FI's feelings, and the rules of the military, before pushing it more...
  • shayNnikshayNnik member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011

    I'm sure legal will be able to give him all of his choices, but being active duty, I know they will give you more options than just automatically taking it out every month. First of all, when they notice that you owe them a debt, they are supposed to notify you and give you 5 options. You then have 30 days to respond with what option you choose, and if after 30 days you haven't responded, they will start taking what they want.

    Have him go to the family support office/family readiness group to see how they can help with a financial hardship. They should be able to offer an interest free loan that will allow you to pay back the entire amount to the army, then have small monthly payments to them.

    Option 2 is to go to the First Sgt, that's what they are there for. They should be able to have your 'debt' drawn out over an extended period(12-24 months) so that the deduction from his paycheck is less. This usually requires a letter from them, also signed by his commander, along with a form from finance requesting the extended repayment terms.

    I'm really sorry you're going through this. I'm in a similar situation. I moved on base 2 months ago and they never stopped paying me BAH. Fortunately, I caught it and have been putting that money into savings so I can repay it whenever they straighten all of this out. That's just one more responsibility of being in the military, watch those LESs like a hawk, or they will come back to haunt you.

    I may have a bit more information if you need it, please PM me if you'd like to talk more. HTH!

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  • edited December 2011
    I agree with PP. That "paper" makes you married no matter how you look at it so it would be a big deal if you denied that information to family and friends. I also highly doubt that you would be able to keep that secret the whole time leading up to your VR, I would choose either JOP or "real wedding" because if you lie it will just be a lose-lose situation. Unfortunately the military messes things up sometimes and puts you in sticky situations but maybe you should push the wedding back farther so you can have extra time to save. Good luck.
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  • edited December 2011

    Shay has some GREAT advice on logistics to pay back that money without killing your wedding budget!
    You will also be SHOCKED at how much you can cut here and there, save bc of coupons (I never bought a THING from Michaels for full price.. My cake stands cost me three dollars each to make, my table numbers (including frame, picture, paper) cost me 4 dollars each, etc).
    Budgets for weddings suck. and change. We ended up having to 
    pay for a photog, whichw as 1,500  
    pay for rentals, which was 2,000

    as two HUGE chunks of the wedding budget we weren't expecting.. stuff happens. You can make it work if you are financially savvy (which I would assume you are since you said you freak out over finances.. if you're not, now is a good time to become such!)
    You WILL make it work, and we can help you with ideas of places to cut, vendors to save on, tricks to get the look you want for less, etc. :)

  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_military-brides_dilemma?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:13Discussion:20b3d837-eb1e-4e4b-b5ee-9b391b68dd99Post:eddbadfd-fc25-490a-8655-8224e584dec0">Re: Dilemma</a>:
    [QUOTE]Oh I understand his point of view completely! I agree with him. I got married at a courthouse the first time when I was 19 and it was a mistake. Not only because of that but also because of the guy I married...don't get me started! So this time around I want everything to be perfect. I want it to be everything I didn't have before. Well my mom actually suggested it since she's somewhat familiar with how military marriages work so she would know. He and I have hashed it out before and it came down to a last resort type of thing but it's pretty tempting when I'm pulling my hair out over bills and planning and we could have extra money rolling in. We have a roommate, we know how to save, and I have fairly good credit so we have options but I just like having that extra security. <strong>I'm just angry that they're trying to come after the money two years later for something that was their problem in the first place!</strong> He JUST got his pay fixed after it being messed up for the whole year he was deployed, now it's like they're just taking it all back again. Thank you for your advice though. It's nice to get others' thoughts on the situation.
    Posted by hansonam446[/QUOTE]

    Yes it was their mistakes, but mistakes happen. The<u><strong> right</strong></u> thing to do is say, Hey we are getting extra money (ask them why) and if it's a mistake tell them we don't deserve NOR did we earn. You were never entitled to that money yet you spent it anyway, so even if it was 2, 15 or 50 years from now it doesn't make the money any more 'yours.' I find it irritating that you are taking no responsibility for this at all.

    Now getting married to pay a debt or for the money is a terrible idea, and to me morally wrong.

    Pay back the money, get a second job or push back your wedding. That is my advice.
  • edited December 2011
    You aren't alone in your frustration. Most military families that I know have, at one point or another, struggled with finding out that a contract they signed, a bonus that was promised, or even the basic paycheck was denied or never given. In fact, I have a friend right now who's basic enlistment bonus has been deducted out of her last few paychecks from a financial paperwork error that was out of her control. It will hopefully be fixed within the year...or two.... :-P 

    The best thing to do is learn from this and keep an extra sharp eye on the military's paycheck as you move forward in your future together. As was mentioned above, it comes with the job.

    My suggestion: stick with your original plan, but shrink it to make it fit to your available finances. A small, family and closest friends only ceremony and reception can be really sweet and romantic. When things get figured out later on (hopefully in your favor), you can either save up more or go ahead a plan a big ol' party for all your friends!
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  • edited December 2011
    Calindi put it really nicely and eloquently, so I'll just say that I second her.

    As for the pay issues, I've been there. It sucks. Finance mystifies me every time, and it may just be because they are understaffed or undertrained, or who knows what. This just echoes the importance of saving so that you're able to absorb something unexpected like this. Ever since I made my last rank, I've done my darndest to save a lot of money, and it paid for my wedding dress and plenty of other incidentals that have popped up.
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  • edited December 2011
    Oh he watches his LES now. The problem was that he had just come into the army, at a new base (any Ft Bragg brides?) and was not aware what he was getting paid. He talked to JAG and they think that they can work it out for him so he'd only have to pay a month or two back. Since he didn't get any BAS while deployed but he got it before the JAG lawyer said it should pretty much even out. Thank you for your advice; I talked to my friend who went through the same thing. She got married here with about 20 people attending but is having a big ceremony later on. I think we've decided this is what we're going to do since I told him we can get a Chaplin to do the ceremony with a couple friends in attendence. I'm not saying that I would hide it from everyone; obviously our friends would know and my parents but I guess I wouldn't shout it out to my extended family. And I didn't mean to insult anyone's religion. We are not very religious but I do believe in the sanctity of marriage. I guess all I was trying to say was that we live together and act married as it is so actually getting married now would not make a difference in how we live our lives now...except of course having some more to save. We're still discussing it but, as a testament to how awesome he is, he surpirsed me with a trip to David's Bridal and I got to have my first wedding dress shopping experience! :) We ran down everything again and it made me feel a lot better.

    Also, don't you LOVE how the army is quick to take money they think you owe but they take their sweet time paying money they owe you!
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  • calindicalindi member
    5000 Comments Second Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    Good luck and best wishes! Please just be up front about getting married. I know I would want to announce my marriage to the world. If you have a JOP ceremony but plan a later "wedding", just be upfront about the fact that it is a vow renewal. Your guests then can choose to attend or not, and many will, but at least it isn't under false pretenses.

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  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_military-brides_dilemma?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:13Discussion:20b3d837-eb1e-4e4b-b5ee-9b391b68dd99Post:85959d0e-5e27-44ec-bcae-862001ade74a">Re: Dilemma</a>:
    [QUOTE]Good luck and best wishes! Please just be up front about getting married. I know I would want to announce my marriage to the world. If you have a JOP ceremony but plan a later "wedding", just be upfront about the fact that it is a vow renewal. Your guests then can choose to attend or not, and many will, but at least it isn't under false pretenses.
    Posted by calindi[/QUOTE]

    Funny story. I was just catching up with a friend on facebook (literally just now). I Asked how his fiancee' was doing and he said well. That she was decorating their house and all that jazz..
    Me: Wait... What rank are you?
    Him: soon to be a CPL (Marine)
    Me: You got a JOP?!
    Him: A what?
    Me: Justice of the peace. You're not engaged, you're married.
    Him: Wtf.. how did you just call me out?! yes.. we're married. Family doesn't know though. They are super traditional


    oooooh lawdy...  />_< lol
  • calindicalindi member
    5000 Comments Second Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_military-brides_dilemma?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:13Discussion:20b3d837-eb1e-4e4b-b5ee-9b391b68dd99Post:08b7ddbf-e415-4933-b91b-1bfeee8e7902">Re: Dilemma</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Dilemma : Funny story. I was just catching up with a friend on facebook (literally just now). I Asked how his fiancee' was doing and he said well. That she was decorating their house and all that jazz.. Me: Wait... What rank are you? Him: soon to be a CPL (Marine) Me: You got a JOP?! Him: A what? Me: Justice of the peace. You're not engaged, you're married. Him: Wtf.. how did you just call me out?! yes.. we're married. Family doesn't know though. They are super traditional oooooh lawdy...  />_< lol
    Posted by firsttimersluck[/QUOTE]

    Family will find out and be pissed.  Hope she enjoys decorating her house built on lies.  Stupid little CPL.

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  • edited December 2011
    Yeah I know. he was like.. I think my dad may know.. He keeps making comments.. All I'm thinking is I hope they are the ones paying for it... because if the people that are paying for it find out that could go over reeeally poorly for them.
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