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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.

WorrySighWorrySigh Wed 24-Apr-13 22:30:27

We are in our late mid 40s. I would hate to have important NOK decisions to be left to my or DH's elderly parents.

I wonder how many organ donation opportunities are missed simply because there is no clear NOK to make the decision?


Is there no legal way DP & I can sort out our pensions, NoK, etc, without being married? Do we really have to do that? Or can we cover it via solicitors?

Serious question. I know that when I started my private pension I agreed to it going 'to all of my children' in the event of my death.

Fuxache. We need a civil partnership register for people who don't want to be married, but want their relationship to be official. Equally, marriage should be available to anyone who wants to be married. There is a distinction.

kim147 Wed 24-Apr-13 22:36:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

grovel Wed 24-Apr-13 22:39:47

Do it. Keep it small. Make it special.

Friends of mine just did it. The look on their faces as they made their vows was lovely. They just recognised that what they had was special. Their teenage DCs were moved (initially sceptical). Any bureaucratic problems downstream sorted.

LimitedEditionLady Wed 24-Apr-13 22:42:25

You know,i have never thought about this.we have been together nine years,got a wee one and a mortgage but i never thought about if he got poorly or anything.i love my other half but the idea of a wedding just gives me the mild palpitations.its not the commitment its the mass of it all.i know we could just go do it but what about upset family?i think hed want a big fancy do but i really wouldnt.

loubielou31 Wed 24-Apr-13 22:42:51

Is it just me who doesn't quite get why if you want an "official relationship" you wouldn't want to get married. That's what a marriage is, in essence it's a way of making your relationship recognised by the law of the land. confused

Longdistance Wed 24-Apr-13 22:45:59

Just get married. Have a simple registry office do. Witnesses, and close friends and family. Drinks and a knees up after smile
A lot more fun than going to a boring solicitor.

Longdistance Wed 24-Apr-13 22:47:11

None of this not being next of kin lark.

MrsPoglesWood Wed 24-Apr-13 23:00:13

SadEyed for pensions it absolutely depends on what the terms of the pension policy says and a will or any other legal document cannot change the terms. You need to check the pension t&cs carefully. Spouse means a married/civil partner only unless it explicitly says otherwise.

Kim that's really interesting and good that it is recognised that NOK can be other than family/blood relatives and that patients can name someone. But if you don't have chance to put that card into practice it could still end up being a nightmare with 'blood relatives' taking over whilst the unmarried partner and DP of 20+ years and DM of DCs has no say.

You can get married quietly, quickly and cheaply just to formalise things. We should've done it years ago.

goldwrapped Wed 24-Apr-13 23:21:44

Loving this thread. Proposed to my now DH during my lunch hour whilst training to be a registrar of births and deaths - I wanted to make sure I would be able to register his death.... How romantic am I?
Since then I have seen countless heartbreaking situations where partners of decades have been ignored in death registrations as they are not recognized in law. Worse - if there's an ex-partner who the deceased is still legally married to, they are named on all the documentation.
The most wonderful weddings are those with a handful of guests, without the circus that goes with most of them. You can feel the emotion, and I am still moved to tears.... Society has transformed marriage in to a performance, and the legalities have been forgotten.
You can question the legal position all you like, but every time they try to change the law, they can't find a better/easier/cheaper way to do it.
Minimum charge for wedding = £70 notices, £44 ceremony + certificate, for a weekday register office (not registration office, there's a difference) wedding. Every district has one. Try it - you might even enjoy it! xxx

LimitedEditionLady Wed 24-Apr-13 23:48:37

Whats a register office compared to a registration office?i wouldnt like a big wedding,i dont like attention on me although i love helping people to make things special for them.

goldwrapped Thu 25-Apr-13 00:03:06

Every registration district has to have one designated register office, which has to offer weddings/cps for a fee set by the General Register Office, currently £40.
Registration Offices can add extra fees, like a booking fee, and can charge extra for their 'special' rooms. There is usually little difference other than the cost, and there should be no difference in the ceremony itself.
As has been said in earlier posts, there really doesn't have to be any fuss: short intro, each declare that you're free to marry (answer "I am" to the question) and contract your marriage (I, Joe Bloggs, take you Joanne Bloggs, to be my wedded wife), sign the register (not the certificate!!) and Joe's your hubby. Job done smile You don't have to dress up, you just need 2 witnesses - some offices will even do that bit for you!

Startail Thu 25-Apr-13 01:06:25

I know my DFs, who have been partners for 20 years, did.

He's quite a lot older and with pension looming it just made life simpler. Also her Dad is getting on and it was lovely for him to see her marry. Not that I think he's the sort to say anything.

It was a very quiet registry do, she just wore ordinary summer clothes, actually DDs and me were far more dressed up because we had posh frocks for a formal wedding later in the year.

We all had tea and cake at her Dad's (her mum died when she was a child), We dumped the DDs on DBIL and went for a lovely meal out in a pretty local restaurant.

Wedding gifts were donations to Oxfam, although their colleagues were naughty and added a boat trip to their honeymoon.

AdoraBell Thu 25-Apr-13 01:29:13

Not sure if that has been said already so sorry if it has, next of kin -

unless you are down on paper as NOK then it will be DP's father, or next male rellie if he is no longer alive. If you get married then you are NOK unless DP nominates someone else.

NOK is important to me because my ILs are total control freaks who would love to exlude me from vital decisions if they could, but that's just them, could be your DP's parents are perfectly reasonable.

bedhaven Thu 25-Apr-13 05:58:28

My Aunt and her partner never wanted to get married but after 30 odd years together did because they would lose so much in inheritance tax.
They eloped to Gretna Green and they do not celebrate the anniversary. They had a great party of bridesmaids and pageboys...cue some spectacular frock monstrosities from charity shops!

WorrySighWorrySigh Thu 25-Apr-13 07:32:31

The reason we get married in the way that we do (rather than just sending a letter to a solicitor) is that marriage is so important as an agreement. It is bilateral, it confers rights which cannot be done any other way.

It doesnt have to be a ceremony unless you want it to be.

thegreylady Thu 25-Apr-13 07:41:13

Just quietly book a registry office and slip off and do it-no fuss no 'wedding' just an official recognition of the status quo.

robino Thu 25-Apr-13 07:43:09

After 17 years together, two kids and another on a way, an emergency operation and a heart scare DH and I decided that really, marriage was the only safe way to guarantee that our wishes would be taken into account at all points throughout our relationship, no matter what happened.

I highly recommend mumsnet for finding witnesses if you want it go it alone!

Oldandcobwebby Thu 25-Apr-13 07:55:00

If he dies, you won't even be eligible to arrange his cremation. You are not a relative, after all. Why make your lives potentially difficult? Have a chat with the local registrar, or, better still, go to Las Vegas.

jamdonut Thu 25-Apr-13 07:55:47

The reason that you can't do it "like a will" is because the legal formalities already go to the register office and take 2 witnesses (you don't even have to know them!) and just say the words and Bob's Your Uncle...sorted! You don't even have to tell anyone you've done it until you choose to. You don't have to have or wear a ring. Just carry on as before, but safe in the knowledge that you've covered your back.

DontmindifIdo Thu 25-Apr-13 08:08:24

I love the idea that civil partnerships, when you drill down to the actual legal bits, are any different to civil marriages - the actual process you go through and the legal rights and responsiblities are the same - i don't understand why some people are so set against marriage they will jump through hoop after hoop trying to get those rights and responsibilities without actually getting married - it's like you clearly want to be married without actually doing the easiest thing about it - ie. a straight forward, lunch break wedding.

I would say as well, if you want to at some unknown point in the future have a big wedding, there's nothing stopping you doing that anyway even if you've got legally married in the past, you can just have the ceremony but be legally covered now. That just means if the big wedding you'll save for "some day" never actually happens, you will still be covered.

I think the problem is that we've gone a couple of generations without large numbers of people just having simple civil services because you don't have to be married to live together, the bulk of people who do get married do a big wedding, and those who have done quiet registary job weddings don't feel the need to tell anyone they have.

I think the issues of those just living together in old age will start to creep up the public concious, those in care homes and going through difficult end of life decisions are still the last generation who had to be married rather than live together. But we are starting to see those who were the first to get divorced in large numbers and/or live together without getting married reach old age, you will start to hear more about the downsides, the loss of pension rights when your partner dies compared to spouse, the NOK issues (particularly with people having long drawn out declines you get in old age) and others raised.

jamdonut Thu 25-Apr-13 08:14:11

If you "marry" in a register office it is a civil wedding i.e partnership in the eyes of the State ,not God. (That's why some people have blessings afterwards, if they need the approval of said Being. )
Is that not what you require?

Perihelion Thu 25-Apr-13 08:29:53

You can pick the shortest ceremony. For ours, we said " I am" and "Yes". Got married just before birth of DD so DH was NOK and so much cheaper than a visit to the solicitors. No need for a wedding to get married.

DeafLeopard Thu 25-Apr-13 13:04:18

"No need for a wedding to get married."

^^ this.

Weddings are such a circus these days that people think they can't afford to get married. You can and you should. You don't need to tell anyone if you don't want to offend / upset people, and if in the future you decide you want a big day then go and do it later.

AnyoneforTurps Thu 25-Apr-13 13:13:52

Re NOK. There is no general legal definition of your next of kin. There are a small number of laws that do define it (differently, naturally grin) e.g the Mental Health Act, but these definitions do not apply to medical situations generally, only to situations covered by those specific laws.

In general, marriage will not affect whether you are treated as NOK in medical situations and you have no more rights by being married. In fact, unless you have been given power of attorney or appointed by the court of protection, the NOK has no legal rights anyway. No adult is legally entitled to make medical decisions on behalf of another adult (other than with POA etc). Doctors would usually try to consult the wishes of NOK, but are not obliged to comply with them.

So you definitely do not need to get married so that your DP can be your NOK.

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