Do we HAVE to get married?

(119 Posts)
NaturalBlondeYeahRight Wed 24-Apr-13 20:33:44

We have been together ( more or less happily grin )for 18 years. 2 DC, house in both names and appropriate wills and life insurance.
I don't want a 'ah, go and get married' Fred. But seriously, should we?
If either of us kick the bucket before our time, will
It cause serious problems. OH main breadwinner so presuming he will be ok money wise but am I taking big risks. I have visions of poverty line before will is sorted. We don't even have joint accounts (never got round to it) but please don't think this is an issue, our money is shared equally.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Wed 24-Apr-13 21:16:28

Just to add, if you then get married the father can have PR, but otherwise nope, unless you go through the court. So any operation your child might need, only the mum is allowed to give consent.

Also I have a friend who I nag regularly to marry/make a will. This is because she and her dp each have a child from a previous relationship as well as one together. If her dp were to die I think she would struggle to continue to see her stepson, her daughter's sibling. Worse still if she were to die her dp has no rights to be the guardian of her daughter - who lives with him and her sister and has done so for years.

Thurlow Wed 24-Apr-13 21:18:05

Northern, that's true. But given DP's issues about marriage, I would still prefer to trust that they will go along with me, than risk a change to our relationship by getting married.

There are plenty of people who are in long term relationships and aren't married. They never seem to appear on these threads...

DontmindifIdo Wed 24-Apr-13 21:18:21

I think you need to get some legal advice - he might think it's morbid, but could you point out that as he is the main bread winner, he doesn't have to worry about it, because if you die he'll be fine financially, and if he dies, he'll be dead so not having to deal with the shit caused by you not being married, it'll be you, and it's only fair to do what it takes to reduce the chance that while you're grieving you're having to wade through a lot of complex legal shit and work out what you're entitled too.

If he doesn't want to have to think about it all and discuss his dying over and over, just get married (you don't have to do a full wedding, a 15 minute registrary office job would be fine - you don't need to even tell anyone, just get it done and then know you've got that covered). the only reason not to get married like this are a) you want to do the big wedding at some point and just haven't got round to it/can't afford it yet, or b) you don't want to be legally tied to each other. If you d'nt want the big wedding, but you do want to be legally tied to each other, than just do it. Far easier than faffing around seeing solicitors, drawing up agreements, trying to make sure everything's covered. Seems the far easier option.

(BTW - in my view the only reasons to be married if you aren't religious are for "when things go wrong" coverage, it's like insurance. The only reasons against getting married - other than general laziness about arranging it - do boil down to "when things go wrong, I want to be able to walk away easily and not to be tied to this person")

Thurlow Wed 24-Apr-13 21:19:08

Pobble, the birth certificate gives the dad the same parental rights as the mum.

DeafLeopard Wed 24-Apr-13 21:19:40

Also Widowed Parent's Allowance of £100ish a week is only for married or CP'ed.

Jinty64 Wed 24-Apr-13 21:19:53

My Mum died recently. She was very organised with a will, paperwork sorted our etc. I couldn't believe how much there still was to see to. Dh and I have lived together for 21 years and have 3 dc's. we are going to marry (very quietly) later this year. I want everything to be as simple as possible if one of us dies.

DeafLeopard Wed 24-Apr-13 21:20:03

What about if you split up? You would have no claim on his pension IIRC...

His parents would be seen as his next of kin in the event of his death.

You are treated in law as two separate individuals if you remain unmarried. You could well end up with a whole host of financial problems and hardship as well as having to face your own emotional grief at his passing. You could too easily end up relying on the goodwill of his family.

There are many legal implications here for you if he dies; some of which you two may not have even considered.

You currently as his unmarried partner would not be able to set up Letters of Administration with regards to his estate nor choose a headstone. You would also not be able to claims any Widows benefit from the government if unmarried and you could well end up being totally reliant on his family's goodwill towards you in the event of his death.

kim147 Wed 24-Apr-13 21:20:35

The law about parental consent changed a while ago - as long as the Dad is on the certificate, he has consent.

jacks365 Wed 24-Apr-13 21:24:27

Thurlow due to the age of the dc ie prior to 2003 dad has not got parental rights unless they marry.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Wed 24-Apr-13 21:26:00

Only if your child was born after 2003. You an re-register the birth otherwise. I've seen no end of Dads upset that they can't agree to treatment.

exoticfruits Wed 24-Apr-13 21:29:40

You really have to be very sure that DP's family love you and see you as his DW and want to make everything easy for you-if this is not the case then I would advise that you get the marriage certificate. If he is dead or unconscious they can make huge difficulties, but if you are the wife, what you say goes.That is without even thinking of the financial side.
I would at least see a solicitor-ours brought up all sorts of issues that I hadn't thought about-despite having being widowed early in life and having had experience.
One thing that hadn't even crossed my mind is that I get DH1's inheritance allowance in addition to my own-even though I married again.

exoticfruits Wed 24-Apr-13 21:30:38

The law is a very funny thing-never assume anything.

maddening Wed 24-Apr-13 21:30:57

from point of view of widows pension it makes sense.

Zappo Wed 24-Apr-13 21:32:17

I'm ok with the next of kin thing. The person who is best placed to make decisions for me is the person who has given birth to me and known me longest.

She saw me into this world, I'd be happy if she saw me out of it too.

MrsPoglesWood Wed 24-Apr-13 21:35:03

We are in the same position. We have been engaged - ahem - for 28 years. Had 2 weddings booked over the years but cancelled both due to a) discovering I was up the duff and realising we needed to buy a house asap rather than leisurely saving up for a mortgage deposit and a big wedding; and b) my DF died suddenly a week after I'd booked the registry office and I just couldn't think about it. I almost daren't book a third as gawd knows what might happen! Lottery win perhaps grin

Mortgage, life insurance and wills have always been sorted but we are in the same position re pensions. The terms of both mine and DP's says they will pay out to a 'spouse' and the definition of spouse in the t&cs is clearly a someone you are either married to or in a legal civil partnership with. We have both worked too hard and paid in far too much for it just to go back into the pot so we want to make sure that either is entitled to inherited rights if either of us snuff it. At 45 and 47 we are starting to think about this stuff a bit more seriously.

You also have to consider issues like 'next of kin' consent if either of you were in need of emergency medical treatment or even worse end of life care, organ transplantation etc. DS is both mine and DP's next of kin now he's over 18, previously it was our DMs. Technically we wouldn't have a say about each other's treatment and would have to rely on DS - or the DMs previously - to take our wishes into account. But the reality is that either of our DMs - as could DS now - could totally override our wishes as legal next of kin. Not that they would've done but not all families are close, caring or share the same beliefs.

It's a big step whenever you take it but after 18 years, 2 DC, a mortgage etc I think it makes sense. Yes, if you ever split up it makes separation more expensive but if you are in a long term relationship with dependents I think it offers some financial protection and provides next of kin status which can be the most important of all.

I'm planning on probably doing it 2015 to make it a full on 30 yr engagement. DS will be 27 then and I might even make him dress as a page boy! Seriously though, it will be low key, informal and fun rather than the full on big white expensive jobby we originally had planned back in 1989. Oh and DP and I have never had a joint account, ever. We just work things out between us and we've never had a problem.

Sorry that's a bit long. Red wine fuelled tonight!

exoticfruits Wed 24-Apr-13 21:35:05

According to MN many women don't feel at all like that about their MILs, Zappo.

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Wed 24-Apr-13 21:35:12

Yep, both ours born before 2003. Oh I thought this might open a whole can of worms. Unless you take serious legal advice and/or you don't own much then you are basically stuffed then?
I have issues in that I find the whole 'marriage' concept embarrassing (not embarassed to be married, just the vows bit) and for those in the first flush of romance. Will def tell my DC to do it before DC and before 'life' gets in the way.
I have a feeling it might have to be be a 'drunk in Vegas' a la friends wedding.

DontmindifIdo Wed 24-Apr-13 21:36:01

I'm not sure on this, but another one to get advice on - If he for any reason needs long term care, not just death, are you covered if you aren't next of kin - not to just make decisions, but to ensure that your joint assets like your home/savings aren't used to pay for it? I know that in relation to end of life care (such as dementia), if a spouse is alive, they aren't forced to sell the family home to pay for it, but what if you aren't married and you just own a share of the house each? Even if you are due to inherit his share, that doesn't mean it couldn't be spent paying for his care if he needs it (or yours if you need it) - my Nana was in a home for 7 years and about 3 months before she died, we finally used up all but the £24k you're "allowed" in savings from the sale of her 3 bed house in a nice area and hers and Grandad's life savings (he'd died 10 years earlier).

Again, I don't know about this, but it's worth asking about.

Zappo Wed 24-Apr-13 21:36:57

But my MIL wouldn't be making decisions about me or my children(that would be different) but about DP!

Morebiscuitsplease Wed 24-Apr-13 21:37:10

Seek advice, depending on your situation there could be an inheritance tax issue. Also draw up Power of Attorney , even married people need this too. Hate to say it but a wedding is much nicer and quite often cheaper than IHT. Marriage does have benefits. Best of luck!

Murtette Wed 24-Apr-13 21:38:17

Bear in mind that, if you separate then, if you're not married, there's no divorce procedure so you're not entitled to any support from him and the amount which your children would be able to get is negligible (and possibly nothing if he doesn't have PR). I know you say everything is great now, but what happens if he does meet someone and disappears with her? Could you support yourself and your DC, buy him out & pay the mortgage? I know marriage doesn't stop him doing that but it does mean you could get some financial support from him.
Of course, if you were the breadwinner/most of the savings or other assets were in your name, then that could be a reason not to get married as you'd have to support him.

WorrySighWorrySigh Wed 24-Apr-13 21:38:49

Why can't it just be done like a will?

It can, go to the register office, give the appropriate notice, get two witnesses, fill out paperwork, pay money and that is it.

One of the risks of not marrying is that one person can change their side of the deal (wills, pension, life ins) unilaterally and without telling you. It will never happen until it does and then there wont be a damn thing you can do about it.

A person can only be married to one person at a time but can be in an apparently exclusive relationship with many. In that situation, the spousal relationship trumps all others I believe.

exoticfruits Wed 24-Apr-13 21:39:19

Even though we are married we have been to a solicitor and changed things so that if one of us gets dementia and needs long term care the house can't be sold over the head of the other.

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