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Is living together an acceptable alternative to marriage?

When two people decide to live together are they really doing what is best for each other? If there are children who gets them when you separate? How do you receive child support if daddy or mom takes off?If mom does not work where does she get retirement benefits from if daddy takes off?What about property ownership?What about college for the children?

Marine 8 Aug 17

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I have been married three times, divorced three times. I have never been with someone who just wanted to live together. My last wife and I cohabited for about two years while my previous wife was holding us hostage to try and squeeze a better financial settlement for herself. But there were visa issues that were running out, so marriage to the last one was the only way to keep her and her son in country.

Have ou decided how you have contributed to these divorces?

@Marine, does it matter? I have found that more often than not, every failed marriage has two stories, often vastly different. The first we were too young, the second was an inability to communicate in positive ways (lasted 20+ years anyway), the last was DOA before it happened, but accomplished what we set out to do; keeping a bright young boy in this country so he could have a better chance of a great future. Answer your question? Fear of being alone is a really creepy reason to stay married, let alone get married, regardless of how much family you have around you.


Marriage is an outdated concept. Everything else you asked about has to do with laws. Marriage wouldn't matter either way if the government would stop interweaving laws and benefits into it.



Marriage does help for legal reasons, but does nothing to keep people together...or very little.

My concern is for the individual and the children financlally. It does not make any difference whether you are married or not with regard to whether you will stay together.


We’re not living in the dark ages. People co-habiting is the norm. Marriage should be avoided. Ruins everything.

Livia Level 6 Aug 17, 2018

Sorry you feel that way because you might be missing a great deal later in life.


All the questions you posed are easily dealt with. Legal papers can be drawn to cover all those things. Marriage is wholly unnecessary. In the event of a break-up, there would already plans in place.


Before marrying someone, I would prefer we live together for at least 1 year (more would be better). Need to be around each other when one or the other is sick, tired, grumpy, angry, sad; find out or exposed more to each other's "bad" habits and living styles. I would rather go into marriage knowing as much about other person as I could. If we both accept each other after living together for a few years, then hopefully the marriage will last and we won't get divorced over something stupid like "irreconcilable differences" that a bunch of celebrities get divorced over because they marry each other too quickly. But even if neither of us wants to get married, that's fine too.

Whether you are married or not doesn't determine how well the relationship will be or how you will treat your kids. Married and unmarried people cheat on each other or leave one another; some people whether married or not make terrible parents. So it really depends on the people who are in the relationship if they want to get married or not; doesn't matter to me.


I don't see marriage as a requirement. Was with someone for seven years, lived with them for six. If anything, it becomes an obstacle. Of course, that doesn't mean you cannot get married eventually. George R. R. Martin and his partner, for example, waited 30 years. Never let the expectations of society guide your life. Do what is right for you when it is right.

It has nothing to do with society rather with yourself,children and finacial welfare of all concerned.


"Is living together an acceptable alternative to marriage?"

Don't married people live together, usually?

Jacar Level 8 Aug 17, 2018

Usually yes, but I have several clients I've "married" who still years later don't live together, but remain married in healthy relationships. In some cases, they live 10 minutes a way but really like their own space, getting together daily. In other cases, they live in separate cities or states because of jobs or military situations and maintain a long distance relationship, with their marriage vows holding them together.

@Julie808 A much older friend told me how having separate bedrooms was great. Schedule, decoration,... was very healthy for them.


So.. child support is filed for whether there is a marriage or not. The biggest issue is the ability to make decisions for your SO in the event on an accident. This is where power of attorney’s work. My brother and his SO have been together 10 years. They bought a house together and have a very strong relationship.

See above stories.


Acceptable to whom ? Who cares ?

All the same issues you stated, can occur whether or not people are married.


My wife (we were married by a drunk judge in the back room of our favorite wine bistro) lived together for over a decade. We NEVER thought it was temporary. Marriage was decided on an evaluation of income tax return scenarios. My opinion: you're a couple or you're not. A marriage certificate is just a piece of paper.


As a child of divorced parents (technically they divorced and then divorced other partners as well)... Marriage is not something I'd be interested in.


Custody is decided as it is in a divorce.
Child support is owed by the noncustodial parent without consideration of marital status.
Why should someone, mom or dad, entitled to someone else's retirement?
If there is joint property, it should be divided equitably between the parties.
College education of children is not a parental obligation. It would be completely voluntary.

I think you missed the more important issues. A cohabitating partner has no legal rights in medical decisions, for death benefits, or in litigation regarding wrongful death claims and such cases.
There are a lot of other areas where were you a cohabitating partner, you'd have no rights that marriage grants.

Worst case scenario, a man in a same sex relationship for years is in the hospital in a coma. His partner, who's been through everything with him throughout that time, can be denied visitation rights by the family. If a decision must be made regarding the termination of life support, the partner has no legal rights there either.

There are a large number of rights that married people have simply by virtue of that certificate.

JimG Level 8 Sep 1, 2018

If you are planning on having kids then do the paper work, it's for them not for the parents.


Marriage is essentially a contract with (insert deity here) involved. So just write up a legal contact. It requires some forethought but if it's all laid out before there are set expectations.


Since I believe marriage is an antiquated ritual, I have no problems with living together. It would require certain issues to be settled, legally, however.

Please see above

@Marine None are a concern for me. Living in the moment.


Living together is completely acceptable. As for if you split, child support is done EXACTLY the same way through the system.

You have to catch them first,prove via blood tests that the child belongs to the father all which costs money then you face visitation rules court costs again and finally there is a loss in social security benefits and possiblity of pension rights My cousin is facing these things today at a huge expense and a very nasty breakup.

@Marine Divorce, parenting schedules, etc. costing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars is not the norm. Otherwise, divorce would be rare because most people don't have that kind of money. And, I'd say most people (not all) are wise enough to see that being as amicable as possible is better for everybody. It sounds like your niece and cousin were quite unfortunate in their choices of mates and attorneys.


Done both. Enjoyed both. Not afraid of either one.

Good for you. Hope you have family now as they become very important in later life.

@Marine A brother and a sister. That is it.


Absolutely, as long as legal steps are taken in financial and property matters.


Marriage may not be necessary for the relationship itself. (A piece of paper falls apart in hot water, but it's the strong commitment and devotion that make the marriage.) HOWEVER, for finances, raising children, taxes, social security, decisions in the operating room, etc., that piece of paper holds a lot of power and security.

As a stay at home mom, married 29 years, I invested 20 years raising my kids, working from home, making far less than my husband. Though we divorced many years ago, I am glad I will have the option of using 50% of his social security benefits when I retire, as they are higher than taking 100% of my own.

Same thing here. I gave up my somewhat less lucrative career to follow him around from job to job while he built a more lucrative one. I raised our child, and worked a lot of shit part time jobs because he didn't want Junior to be a latch-key kid. I spent endless hours discussing his career with him, giving him great advice and emotional support while he climbed the corporate ladder. Then he bolted. I'm back in school now. If we hadn't been married, would have been a different story but at least he has to spend a few years of his still six figure salary trying to educationally rehabilitate me. That said, I would not marry again. I look forward to seeing how I am on my own now, making my own decisions.

@seaspot_run Yep, me either, no desire or reason to marry again. Never say never, of course, but marriage is surely not on my agenda at this time in my life. When raising a family, marriage is a welcome layer of security.

@seaspot_run Bravo to you moving on in such a positive manner. I hope you are proud of you.

Thank you for making my statements relative.


Or you could be over analysing this?


If you need to separate and particularly if there are children, please hire an attorney that is experienced with representing someone like you, and has great ratings, to help you with all those questions. Many times things don’t go as expected (probably why there’s separation) and they can advise you on these things. I wish I had.


marriage provides distinct legal benefits. until society catches up to the idea that those obligations exist because of the nature of the relationship, not because you stood in front of a priest or judge and said "i do", it will always have those advantage.


Depends on the Common Law Marriage definitions in your state.


acceptable to whom?

to the government? well, it's not illegal but in terms of what you describe -- child support and all that -- you have a different legal standing in some instances from the standing you'd have if you were married.

if there are children, then the above is a consideration.

if there are no children, then just make sure you have directives in place regarding being able to talk to doctors is the other one is in the hospital, for example, and make sure there is a clear will.



Marriage in early times was contract of ownership. When early man went off to hunt or assert themselves over others they needed a guarantee that their mate would not be taken by the next one in line. The females would go with whomever brought the meat back to the cave prior to that. The intro to so called civilization.

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