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  • Living together without marriage

    Me and my girlfriend have a child together and have had a on and off relationship for yrs
    have been together lately and finally seem to be on the same page on most major issues
    Is there any big downside ( from a financial standpoint) to living together and not getting married ?
    she is ok with no marriage( finally) but wants to buy a house together so our kid has a home
    What are the pros and cons in this scenario?
    this is a state with no common law marriage

    Thanks

  • #2
    Financially, there may be tax benefits of getting married depending on where you fall in the marginal rates as well as if you both work or not.

    Health insurance may be another issue if one has to get insurance on the marketplace instead of being able to put the other person on a work plan.

    Otherwise just make sure you list beneficiaries on all your accounts how you see fit.

    Comment


    • #3
      I promise I'm trying to help, but this may come across as judgy.

      Buying a house would make the next breakup (if it comes) more difficult, since now there are legal and financial things to unwind. Makes a bad time much worse.
      Homebuying can be a stressful and emotional experience for anyone. Especially in a HCOL area, you could be talking about millions of dollars.
      Others will comment on the $ aspects that you asked about. Are you financially ready to buy a home, etc, etc.

      But I'm not focused on the financial issues here:
      I understand marriage is not for everyone, and am not suggesting it for you, but the old Suze Orman advice "people first, then money, then things" comes to mind. I'd want to focus on the relationship, which you said has had ups and downs.

      Even without marriage, "premarital" counseling might be of value to make sure you are both really on the same page about a bunch of important things. We didn't do that, and happen to be on the same page about most things, but I worry that's mostly due to a lot of luck, having similar personalities and a "traditional" relationship rather than active planning.

      I can be hard to live with (and stay married to), but seeing that laid out and discussed in advance would probably mitigate the problem. What will the division of labor and responsibilities and expectations be? Equally important in a two-physician household vs. one physician/one non vs. one physician/stay at home spouse.

      If you both know, really know and agree that this is ride or die, the fact that one of you doesn't replace the toilet paper roll (not naming names) goes by the wayside and doesn't pile more straw on the back of the relationship...

      Making a home for a child is important, but that child grows up and leaves the nest. And then...
      Would you really know if you're staying together for the child, or for the relationship?

      Good wishes on your decision.

      Comment


      • #4
        Biggest financial downsides are (maybe) tax brackets and health insurance. If one of you dies, social security benies are lost.

        Given your vignette, no way would I buy a house or sign a mortgage "together."

        Comment


        • #5
          More random than usual thoughts:

          Yes, there are financial implications of your marital status, just as having 2 homes v 1 has financial implications. Several have been mentioned above. Tax calculations typically change when your income is wildly disparate and will be throughout your lives:
          • You may lose (lower-earning spouse) or gain (higher-earning)certain tax benefits.
          • Student loan repayment calculations will change.
          • May lose government benefits
          • The lower-/no-earning will miss out on the higher-earning spouse’s SS and pension at death/divorce.

          IMPO: It’s about the child now that you both agreed to raise and be responsible for another human being who 100% depends on you. Getting married for finances is probably not the best foundation for starting a marriage. Court-mandated alimony and child support in event of divorce. If on and off continues in your future, may want to consider an agreement to work together for the benefit of your child so s/he is your primary focus and you present a united, mutually respectful relationship - without marriage. Vacations together, school events together, no fighting in front of your child, etc. Just remember, your child comes first, even when it’s not fun.
          Our passion is protecting clients and others from predatory and ignorant advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

          Comment


          • #6
            coparenting amicably without an actual marriage license strikes me as better than a nasty divorce.
            my advice tends to be that the first time you get married i'd hope that you'd be relatively excited/genuinely in love.
            i understand this changes for things like second marriages w/ blended families -- not that you don't love the person just that there's more negotiation.
            if you have a child with a person and even after that you've been "on again off again" i would not be optimistic about your chances of marriage success w/o some pretty intentional and detailed professional help.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for all the advice
              let me clarify marriage is strictly off the table ,
              only thing I’m asking is how bad can be owning a house together with someone I have a child with ? As both our primary residence as we are together in a ROTM ( relationship other than marriage)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by G View Post
                Biggest financial downsides are (maybe) tax brackets and health insurance. If one of you dies, social security benies are lost.

                Given your vignette, no way would I buy a house or sign a mortgage "together."
                Can you please elaborate why you would not

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by nastle View Post
                  Thanks for all the advice
                  let me clarify marriage is strictly off the table ,
                  only thing I’m asking is how bad can be owning a house together with someone I have a child with ? As both our primary residence as we are together in a ROTM ( relationship other than marriage)
                  Why in the world is marriage strictly off the table?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by nastle View Post
                    Can you please elaborate why you would not
                    Can you elaborate on why you would want to co-sign something with a person you’ve had issues with in the past?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PreCancerDoctor View Post
                      I promise I'm trying to help, but this may come across as judgy.

                      Buying a house would make the next breakup (if it comes) more difficult, since now there are legal and financial things to unwind. Makes a bad time much worse.
                      Homebuying can be a stressful and emotional experience for anyone. Especially in a HCOL area, you could be talking about millions of dollars.
                      Others will comment on the $ aspects that you asked about. Are you financially ready to buy a home, etc, etc.

                      But I'm not focused on the financial issues here:
                      I understand marriage is not for everyone, and am not suggesting it for you, but the old Suze Orman advice "people first, then money, then things" comes to mind. I'd want to focus on the relationship, which you said has had ups and downs.

                      Even without marriage, "premarital" counseling might be of value to make sure you are both really on the same page about a bunch of important things. We didn't do that, and happen to be on the same page about most things, but I worry that's mostly due to a lot of luck, having similar personalities and a "traditional" relationship rather than active planning.

                      I can be hard to live with (and stay married to), but seeing that laid out and discussed in advance would probably mitigate the problem. What will the division of labor and responsibilities and expectations be? Equally important in a two-physician household vs. one physician/one non vs. one physician/stay at home spouse.

                      If you both know, really know and agree that this is ride or die, the fact that one of you doesn't replace the toilet paper roll (not naming names) goes by the wayside and doesn't pile more straw on the back of the relationship...

                      Making a home for a child is important, but that child grows up and leaves the nest. And then...
                      Would you really know if you're staying together for the child, or for the relationship?

                      Good wishes on your decision.
                      You raised some great points
                      I fully expect our relationship to fall apart once kid leaves the house
                      Till then I think we will both try our best to make it work
                      she is a non physician working in administrative role not a huge disparity in our pay
                      I’m a glass half empty kind of a person so my assessment if anything are more pessimistic
                      this is how I look at it
                      Cons
                      bad breakup - house very hard to sell
                      months of pure agony being together until it is sold
                      more stress than usual in relationship due to poor division of labor ( as u said)

                      After buying a house together she renews her insistence to marriage ( absolute worst case scenario) in that case
                      can she throw me out of the house if I say no ? She’s not irrational so false allegations very unlikely
                      if we seperate then best course is we just sell the house

                      pros
                      hopefully far less stressful parenting for next 13?yrs

                      less expenses in running one household vs 2

                      I don’t have to find any other partner ( I’m totally fine with her in that respect)

                      House will be in a area where it will hopefully appreciate in value significantly and we can agree to cut any profits down in half in case it comes to that point ( is this something i need to get now or potentially cross that bridge later )

                      bottomline is she does not want us apart and play “ family “ not just for sake of the kid but also her friends family to keep up appearances

                      i on the other hand do enjoy her company and would not mind at all being with her as long as not forced to get married ( which I’ve made clear)

                      she has offered to put down 10% after selling her current house


                      what am I missing here ?
                      Last edited by nastle; 10-24-2021, 06:51 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by nastle View Post
                        Can you please elaborate why you would not
                        Which one of you is going to move out the next time the relationship is “off again”?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by nastle View Post
                          Can you please elaborate why you would not
                          Your short story would suggest a roughly 5% chance of a successful relationship. It is hard enough to unwind when you have a departing roommate, it is even harder when your departing roommate is a business/investing partner.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Why do you have to buy a house? Why not just rent a house together.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Take this with a grain of salt, but also for background my wife and I lived together for 13 years before marriage (but without on and off, it was all amicable, we were pro commitment, we just didnt care for a marriage license, etc) and I used to be a teacher who saw kids of all parental/familial backgrounds, single parent, divorced, married, cohabitants, etc.

                              For you, once you said "on again off again", I'd say no chance at buying a house. Similar to a divorce, getting out of a joint house with someone you had a tumultuous relationship will not be easy, and will turn nasty >99% of the time. Perhaps you are the 1%.

                              Kids will turn out fine in any family dynamic as long as the parents are amicable and present a united front to the kid. Kids will be messed up if they are with 2 people who live together solely for the sake of the kid but then badmouth or undercut one another in front of the kid. This goes for married or divorced or whatever. Even separated if one parent badmouths the other in front of the kid or tries to "win" over the other parent, it will cause issues. Fighting over a house will only make it worse. One of you can buy a house and "rent" it to the other perhaps, but even then in a breakup either mommy kicked daddy out with no place to live or daddy kicked mommy out and are being greedy by keeping the house (kids view depending on age and other parents reaction).

                              Financially speaking, each situation (and pay grade difference) is dif so your taxes may be the same, less or more for each of you if married.

                              Some states allow "domestic partners" to be on each others health insurance- think more liberal states.

                              FMLA is only for spouses parents children or true domestic partners, so if she gets sick you are not protected by FMLA to take time off to care for her, or visa versa. Each of you are protected to take care of the child.

                              Claiming SS if one of you dies is only for spouses. Spousal inherited IRAs have better benefits than non- spouses.

                              I'd also suggest setting up a will/trust to make sure in the event of your death what you want to go to her vs your child is explicitly stated. Same with beneficiary designations.
                              Last edited by billy; 10-24-2021, 06:41 AM.

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