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I don't want to get married
24

KittyEmK · 11/07/2022 10:23

Hi All, I'd be grateful for your thoughts on my situation - apologies if this is the wrong place to post. I have been with my partner for 4 years or so and I don't want to get married, but I do want to protect my (and our baby's) interests in the event he dies or we split up. Our situation is as follows: we have a joint mortgage and he paid slightly more into the deposit than me, he earns a lot more than I do and has equity in a company that is likely to increase in value significantly over the next few years, we don't have wills currently. Two questions I'd really appreciate some guidance on - who would I speak to for professional advice on this (a lawyer presumably but which type?) Is it in my best interests to get married? I wouldn't be able to support myself and baby on my own, as wouldn't be able to cover childcare costs and rent/mortgage. Thank you in advance!

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KittyEmK · 11/07/2022 10:38

TL;dr I don't want to get married but I will if its in the best interests of myself and baby

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woopdedoodle · 11/07/2022 10:42

Is it an option, does your partner want to get married?

At the very least get wills done.

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MrsOwainGlyndŵr · 11/07/2022 10:44

See a solicitor and get some wills - both of you.

But why don't you want to get married?

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FetchezLaVache · 11/07/2022 10:50

From what you have described of your situation, of course it's in your interests and those of your child to get married.

There is no such thing, whatever anyone might tell you, as a common-law wife.

Spend a bit of time on the Relationships board for a bit of an insight into how unfairly unmarried men tend to treat their partners financially in the event of a split. There are plenty of women who have sacrificed their careers, earning potential, future employability and pension contributions to further the career of men who then fucked them over. Don't be one of them.

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Cotherstone · 11/07/2022 10:55

You can see a family lawyer and ask to draw up a cohabitation agreement. These aren’t legally binding but are often taken into account by judges. They’d outline how you expect to split assets etc if you split up - you can Google for more info on them.

However marriage is the easiest and safest option. We married after 17 years and 2 children after a family lawyer advised me it was a necessity. We had a daytime ceremony with just two witnesses (neighbours) and barely told anyone, as we did it purely for the legalities. We both earn similar amounts and DH is a good man but it still seemed much safer and I feel better for doing it.

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PuttingDownRoots · 11/07/2022 10:55

How do your salaries compare?

The biggest danger is when the mother sacrifices her career to care for the child, goes part time, goes for less pressured jobs etc while the fathers career flourishes with him never taking any of the 'hits' such as emergency time off when child is ill or leaving early to pick up from childcare etc.

House being jointly owned is good.

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SlipperyLizard · 11/07/2022 11:00

Why don’t you want to get married? Having seen the financial impact of divorce on my mum (at a time when women didn’t generally work/have careers & she’d left school with no qualifications) the only thing that would have been worse would be if they hadn’t been married.

I’m the higher earner & was when we married, I still did it to provide DH with protection, it was a non-negotiable for me to be married before I’d have kids.

However, I’d never dreamed of a white wedding etc so we had a very cheap, simple wedding, I didn’t change my surname & the kids have my surname with DH’s as a second middle name.

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Dogtooth · 11/07/2022 11:04

This is a useful explainer about the differences between the rights of married and unmarried couples.

www.citizensadvice.org.uk/family/living-together-marriage-and-civil-partnership/living-together-and-marriage-legal-differences

I'm a feminist and don't buy into any romantic element of marriage, but I am married because it's basically an insurance policy against my partner dying or becoming a dickwad in future. If you both have independent means then fine, if you agree to raise a child with someone and take the financial impact of that through going part time/being a SAHM/taking a slower route in your career then you need to protect yourself against the eventuality of breaking up with your partner and you earn peanuts while he earns a healthy salary.

There are also consequences for pension rights and taxation. Eg even if you're joint tenants, if he died you wouldn't get the tax exemption that applies to property when you're married and would potentially have to pay tax from his estate that would mean you have to sell your home. If he goes in a coma, you're not next of kin to make decisions about care.

I know all this stuff is grim and should be decades and decades away. It's worth planning for though. You can get married for less than £100 if you just go to the registry office and sign the paper, it doesn't have to be a whole big wedding etc. You also don't need to tell anyone you've done it!

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KittyEmK · 11/07/2022 11:19

Thank you all for taking the time to respond, very much appreciated. I will answer fully when I've finished feeding my very distractible dd!

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SingingSands · 11/07/2022 11:19

Marriage is a legal contract and protects both parties. If you want to enter into an agreement to protect your interests then the easiest way would be to get married.

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CatchingSocks · 11/07/2022 11:20

Right. Marriage will not protect you, that is a myth. The only thing that will protect you is ferociously defending your own earning potential.

Don't go part time unless he takes a turn doing so. Don't do more than half of picks ups etc, don't do more than half the sick days. Work on your own career and have your saving. Make sure you own half the house.

Don't fall for the marriage myth

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CatchingSocks · 11/07/2022 11:21

SingingSands · 11/07/2022 11:19

Marriage is a legal contract and protects both parties. If you want to enter into an agreement to protect your interests then the easiest way would be to get married.

LOL no it doesn't. Spousal support is rarely awarded.

Women need their own careers and to co-own all property, nothing else will do.

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Fenella123 · 11/07/2022 11:25

Is it in my best interests to get married?
Yes. That or a civil partnership.
The protection that supplies does not require anything bar the bare minimum though - £35 X 2 to give notice, £55 (?) for the cheapest civil ceremony and a certificate. That's all, you don't need to "have a wedding", or rings, or a dress, or photos, or tell anybody. (Actually, some pension schemes ask you to tell them, but they're not going to tell anyone else, they just need it for their calculations).

You also need wills if you have a kid - do them "in contemplation of marriage" (the solicitor will explain, but wills become invalid upon marriage unless they say this).
You don't want the scenario where you die, you leave everything to DP, then DP remarries, forgets to make a new will, and dies, and the new wife inherits everything, leaving DC penniless.

You also need to set up lasting powers of attorney (because everyone does!).

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user1477391263 · 11/07/2022 11:26

Right. Marriage will not protect you, that is a myth.

Marriage doesn't provide perfect protection, but it's usually better than not being married.

The only thing that will protect you is ferociously defending your own earning potential.
Don't go part time unless he takes a turn doing so. Don't do more than half of picks ups etc, don't do more than half the sick days. Work on your own career and have your saving. Make sure you own half the house.

Unfortunately, a situation that has happened more than once in my social circle is: a couple has a child who turns out to have special needs/complex medical needs of some kind. Daycare isn't going to work and it becomes clear that one partner is going to have to give up work. The woman ends up being the one who does it, because her male partner simple doesn't seem patient and self-sacrificing enough to spend their days looking after this extremely needy child, and insisting that he does so could result in the child receiving less than ideal care. Also, the male partner was a couple of years older and higher earning.

If the OP has another child, this could well be her.

I've also heard of situations where a woman is left unable to work due to disability or a medical problem that later develops.

I'm all for maintaining one's own career and so on, but for most women marriage is an extra layer of protection.

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Fenella123 · 11/07/2022 11:33

I shall also add that (assuming you stay together) your DP can benefit from marriage too. Say the company he has equity in is going to be bought out. His capital gains allowance is about £13k, but he's made more than that. He can transfer some of the shares to his spouse, buyout happens, CGT allowance for him AND spouse is applied, no CGT is due. Because transfers between spouses (of shares, of, say, the money got from selling shares...) is tax free.

And if you die, he pays no IHT on anything he inherits from his spouse.

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AnneLovesGilbert · 11/07/2022 11:36

Does he want to get married? Civil partnership if you want a legal agreement without the history. But I’d just get married tbh if he agrees. Nothing wrong with being pragmatic.

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dazzlingdeborahrose · 11/07/2022 11:43

Just get married. Shove the cert in a drawer and then carry on as you are. Nobody has to revert to the 1950s. Nobody even has to know.

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checkingout · 11/07/2022 12:14

You know wills only stand until another one's made?
I can make a will and "leave you everything" or "50% of everything", give you a copy and even make you witness it... and make another one tomorrow which I'll keep to myself and you won't hear about until I kick the bucket.
He can make a will now, have more kids with another DW tomorrow and do another will the next day. Get professional legal advice.

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Dogsandbabies · 11/07/2022 14:27

Obviously it depends on your circumstances. I don't want to get married. I ensure that every decision I make in my relationship and personal life works long term. I have three children. I can afford to raise them on my own with no support. I own half the house and a second property in name only. Savings are in my name. I work on my career and have never moved to part time (apart from to use up accrued leave) so I can protect my income and develop my career. My partner has and does similar.

At the moment we are considering a fourth child and one of the considerations is whether I could handle four on my own.

We have wills that are mirror wills and essentially benefit the children.

From your post, and the limited information there, it may be best to get married and also start working on growing your income if possible.

I should say, I got burnt with my first marriage where I had to give him loads of my savings and equity. So, never again!

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Nat6999 · 11/07/2022 14:49

If you own any property on your own or have substantial savings in your own name don't get married, the same if you are likely to earn more than him in the future or have a massive pension account.

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KittyEmK · 11/07/2022 15:08

Thank you all. I think he's more up for getting married than I am, he's quite flamboyant though and would like a big party and I would just want to elope so that's another hurdle. I don't want to get married because I find the idea a bit ridiculous and old fashioned (I appreciate I am in the minority here!), it's never been an aspiration. I don't have the luxury of being so Idealistic now though. My partner earns £100k and I earn £50k, but this will go down if I go back to work part time after mat leave (nothing is set in stone here other than I will be returning in some capacity early next year). Dogtooth thank you so much for the link, and Fenella thank you for the info on CGT, I don't think either of us knew that so definitely something to consider. I think I will need to get married or enter into a CP (I think I would have the same rights with a CP bit will check). His earning potential will always outstrip mine but point taken re. ensuring my career and earning potential are protected.

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TimBoothseyes · 11/07/2022 15:23

I felt the same as you OP. I'd been married twice before and never wanted to do it again. After almost 18 years with DP we did a civil partnership. We don't wear rings, nobody has changed their surname. We literally took an afternoon off work and that was it. CP will give you the same legal protection as if you were married. He was my DP before the CP, and he is still referred to as my DP.

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MrsOwainGlyndŵr · 12/07/2022 19:46

I don't want to get married because I find the idea a bit ridiculous and old fashioned

If you looked on it as signing a legal contract which meant that everything you have is owned jointly, and that that means there is no inheritance tax payable by the surviving partner if one of you dies, rather than "getting married", would that help?

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QueSyrahSyrah · 12/07/2022 19:52

Friends of mine were both against 'marriage' per se but opted for a civil partnership when they had DC and that became an option for opposite sex couples. Maybe something to consider.

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