So this year Dave and my relationship passed the 5 year mark, which for me was a great milestone to achieve. My last multi-year relationship ended just shy of 5 years and it was very clear for well over a year before the break-up that it needed to end.
This time around things are very different. I’m still very much in love with Dave, and I know he is also in love with me. With that being said, I’ve never been big on the whole marriage thing. I don’t see the difference between living with the man I love, and being married to him, other than the legal and financial changes it causes.
It’s the financial reasons why we’ve avoided even thinking about marriage until recently – I had a very poor credit score and a lot of credit card debt. This would have negatively impacted his stellar credit score and neither of us wanted that.
My financial situation is now doing much better – I’ve been debt free for a couple of years now, my credit score went up to a very respectable level and has remained stable. Also we have discovered the tremendous tax savings we are not taking advantage of by not filing our taxes jointly.
So to that end, in our own unconventional way, we’re transitioning our relationship to the “next level.” We’re starting with the common law marriage. That way we can file as “married, filing jointly” for our taxes, which will save us both money on taxes. Because I am self-employed, between federal income-tax, state income-tax, social security and medicare, about 40% of my gross income goes to the government right now. Considering I’m no where near that much maligned “1%” I feel this is a pretty steep bill I’m paying here and I am seeking legal ways to reduce it a bit.
This will also allow me to be added to Dave’s health insurance plan, which would reduce my monthly medical insurance premium from $187 to $0. Over the course of a year that would save me over $2,240.
In the end, marriage is primarily about money (which is also why money and finances is the #1 reason cited for divorce). Dave and I don’t need marriage to be in a healthy, loving relationship, but we do need marriage in order to take advantage of both financial and legal benefits that we would otherwise be denied. At this stage in our relationship it makes sense.
However there will be no fancy weddings, no elaborate bridal showers or bachelor parties. We live by the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid!). When we’re ready (after we have a nice pre-nuptial agreement drawn up and signed), we’ll switch from common law to legal marriage, officiate over our own nuptials and then throw a big party for our friends and family!