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Customs and Traditions

XP - State Marriage License?

I am not exactly sure what board to post this to, so please let me know if you have a better idea for a board.

 My FI is against getting a state marriage license. We have researched the pros and cons extensively but I am still having trouble accepting the idea of going against the ‘norm’ because I am not sure what to expect, how to go about it or what to do. What is everyone else’s opinion regarding a marriage license? Is anyone not getting one? How did you go about with your research and how did you move forward with not having one?

We will have a family bible in which we will sign, the pastors will sign as well as two witnesses. We will then be taking it to the courthouse to have it certified and a copy registered.

Any help or insight would be much appreciated!

Re: XP - State Marriage License?

  • You can register you family bible at the courthouse all you want, but you will not be legally married without a marriage license. This means you will not be eligible for the tax benefits of marriage, you will have no legal protection in the event of your spouse's death, incapacitation, or decision to leave you, no automatic inheritance rights, etc. Please, please, please talk to a lawyer who specializes in family law before allowing your fiance to talk you into this. It frankly doesn't sound like he has your best interests at heart.
  • melaniekymelanieky member
    10 Comments
    edited May 2012
    If you don't have a marriage license you are not legally married in the eyes of the state. I hope you know that. I do not know anyone who HASN'T obtained a marriage license.
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  • OP, you should put "XP" in the title as this is also on another board.
    If it is not recognized legally, what happens when there is some sort of emergency? You or your FI won't have any say in any legal action, whether it is a medical emergency or insurance, etc.

    I actually know of a couple who say they are married because they wanted a spiritual committment, not a legal one. They said vows to each other and everything. Fast forward when they were having a child and she was ready to deliver, the hospital didn't really deal with her "husband" and they wouldn't really answer any questions regarding his "wife" because as far as they were concerned, they weren't married and he had no grounds for information regarding his SO.

    The friend felt really bad, like they were treating him like a "baby-daddy", which technically, he was in the eyes of the hospital.

    Something to think about.


  • edited May 2012
    Ok, I was going to add this as an ETA to my initial post, but it got really long, so I'm just adding another post.

    I understand the religious arguments against civil marriage.  I do.  I think they're completely wrong and misguided, but I understand them.  But the thing is, you can believe that the state shouldn't have the right to validate marriages all you want; they still do, and you not getting married isn't going to change that.  The only people you hurt by making a stand against civil marriage are yourselves.  The state doesn't give a flying [eff] whether you get married or not.  It makes no difference to them.  It could, however, make a huge difference to you.  You're talking about the pros and cons to this like there are pros and cons.  There aren't.  There are only cons.

    Here is an example of "something you can expect."  This is specific to my state (Virginia), but similar rules of all sorts apply everywhere.  Here, my husband could not write me out of his will.  Like, if he tried, it wouldn't be valid.  As long as we're married, I'd be entitled to 1/3 of his estate upon his death, whether he wants me to have it or not.  If we didn't get married legally, I would have NO protection if he decided to write me out of his will. 

    The point PP made above about not having guaranteed hospital visitation rights or the right to make medical decisions for each other is another HUGE one.

    There are dozens upon dozens of little rights and protections like this one that you give up by not getting married.  I'm not kidding, PLEASE talk to a lawyer so that you understand just how much you would be risking and giving up so that your fiance could make his stand against civil marriage.

  • Lisa50Lisa50 member
    2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_customs-traditions_state-marriage-license?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:36Discussion:3df66817-1335-412a-9ed2-675dbdcbfebfPost:c1002c28-638c-4760-aa6d-2433397031f4">State Marriage License?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I am not exactly sure what board to post this to, so please let me know if you have a better idea for a board.  My FI is against getting a state marriage license. We have researched the pros and cons extensively but I am still having trouble accepting the idea of going against the ‘norm’ because I am not sure what to expect, how to go about it or what to do. What is everyone else’s opinion regarding a marriage license? Is anyone not getting one? How did you go about with your research and how did you move forward with not having one? We will have a family bible in which we will sign, the pastors will sign as well as two witnesses. We will then be taking it to the courthouse to have it certified and a copy registered. Any help or insight would be much appreciated!
    Posted by hsmith789[/QUOTE]

    Please see my reply on the other board.
  • I'm a CPA, so I'm going to give you the answer in regards to money. Not only are there MANY tax benefits, but what happens when you have a kid and you argue over who gets to claim him or her for the exemption?
    When one of you dies (as previously mentioned), the other will have NO claim to an existing estate if neither of you ever writes up a will. If one of you dies unexpectedly, there will be no social security benefits.
    Like PP said, there are NO pros, only cons.
  • I'm curious as to your FI's reasoning for not wanting to get a state marriage license? What does he list as the pros?

    This seems slightly suspect to me... but I'm paranoid.
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  • You need to get a marriage license in order to be legally married. PPs have stated numerous excellent reasons why the two of you should want to be legally married. I honestly am fine with a couple who both don't believe in actually getting married and just want to be in a long-term committed relationship. I know a couple like this and it's what makes them happy.

    However, it sounds like FI is pushing this idea on you and you are not on the same page. It sounds like YOU want to be legally married and he does not. This is where it's a problem. You both HAVE to be on the same page. Why would he be against getting legally married? That would really worry me and you need to talk this through with him.


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  • >>Why would he be against getting legally married? That would really worry me

    Yes.  This.
    Sounds like he is already married and he's stalling until his divorce is finalized.
    I'm not kidding.
    My DH had been separated for 7 years but was not fully divorced when we began dating and I had no idea. 
  • OP - where are you?  Laws differ from county to country and in the US from state to state.  There are extremely few US states that will still recognize a common law marriage.
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  • I agree with PPs, this would be a huge red flag for me personally, and I really don't think you'd be legally married without a state license.  I also seek out a lawyer who specializes in family law in your area.
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  • What is your FI's reasoning for not getting one?
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