Married but not legally?

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Married but not legally?

Postby MoNatureMan » Tue Jan 13, 2015 1:31 am

I know of some older people, that are both widowed and have income from Social Security and pensions.
If they meet up and get married, they may lose the pension that was left to them, from their previous spouse that had died.
The question is: Can a Christian couple get married spiritually but not legally?
In other words, can they get married in the Church and before God, but not be married according to the law. so they can continue to get the pensions that were worked for?

Here are a couple of additional thoughts concerning this.
Considering the ages, there would definitely not be any children and possibly never any sex at all.
Keeping a pension is not like welfare. The pension was worked for by the previous spouse that died and was left for the survivor.
Would this be sending the wrong message to unbelievers or younger believers?
Are pastors and churches under legal obligation to only marry 'legally'?

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Re: Married but not legally?

Postby Petros » Tue Jan 13, 2015 2:41 am

Item: marriage is intertwined with personal, family and community issues.

Item: Au fond, marriage is between the individuals - and of course God.

BUT
Item: It is normal - and often socially advisable - for the marriage to be [often ceremonially] proclaimed to the families of the individuals and their circles, so that Aunt Nelly can stop complaining about that Richards girl, Cousin Tim can stop thinking about courting the former Louise Richards, and when the young'uns come along they will be recognized as kin.

Item: people being what they are, it is normal - and often advisable - for the couple to make a public contract - and in some cases deposit guarantees with the families.

Item: In most cultures, relationship - in which marriage plays a part - is important in determining patterns or obligation and inheritance.

That being the case,

Item: those who regulate and administrate communities [whether states or churches] generally insist on getting into the act, making rules as to WHO may [not] marry, collecting fees for licenses and ceremonies, taxing marries and unmarried differentially.

I could go on, but shall not.

Bottom line till I hit the return key:

In the case you mention:

Neither city hall nor church determines whether they are one flesh married, but only they are legally wed.

Unless the community [state or church] has a law that says they may not share living quarters or use the same bed, there is no good reason [unless there are interested families] why they should not cohabit. The laws - so far - do not even regulate sex, unless you fall into a special category like underage. Many a couple is married and not state-wed; many a couple, God knows, is state-wed but by no means married by God's definitions.

The problem here, though, is the motivation. NOT being wed, for gain, is no different from wedding someone for profit [green card marriages].

Legally - not an issue UNTIL the governors fix the loophole. But morally - I would need tp pray about it.
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Re: Married but not legally?

Postby jjsledge » Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:49 am

What is more important, the commitment to each other or the piece of paper you get after you pay the "marriage tax" (license). As far as I know all states still recognize common law rights.

Gen 24:67 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.

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Re: Married but not legally?

Postby natman » Tue Jan 13, 2015 11:35 am

"Legal" marriage requirements vary from state to state and country to country. Many states have "common-law" marriages in which no "legal" ceremony is required and where, usually, all that is needed is to declare or act like you are married. Where it gets muddy is in the event of a divorce. In those cases, the couple must prove that they have been in a "common-law" marriage to insure proper separation of properties and heirs.

It is VERY sad that our laws encourage couples NOT to marry for fear of losing income. In my parents' generation, it was very common for women not to work outside the home. However, in most cases, the work they did was just as involving as the husband's. I believe that they EARNED the Social Security that they receive when their husband dies, so why should they have to give it up when they remarry... legally? :(
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Re: Married but not legally?

Postby jochanaan » Tue Jan 13, 2015 12:00 pm

This question is personal to me. Many of you will remember that she whom I described as "my lady," Tammie, passed away last March. We were married in all but name, including being "one flesh;" but because she was receiving Social Security Disability and assistance from the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, we could not get legally married nor even live together, or she would lose those benefits. (I could stay with her all day, but aside from a few odd days I could not spend the night in her apartment, so I had to keep my bed at the hostel.) I prayed about this, yet felt that I was doing right by Tammie and the LORD: she needed more than a live-in care provider, someone who could help to heal by love the terrible psychological scars she was carrying. I believe she is now at peace, and I like to think this is at least partly because I was able to love her and be with her to the end. And by keeping our marriage common-law, we were able to keep the physical and financial benefits she was receiving; she would have suffered much more (and she was already in great pain) if we had lost those by getting a marriage license.

For those reasons, I believe I did right both in making her my lady, and in not formalizing our marriage.
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Re: Married but not legally?

Postby jjsledge » Tue Jan 13, 2015 2:26 pm

If my information is correct, marriage did not become an institution/sacrament of the church for 400 years.


Jochanaan I agree.
Those who judge the motives of othere are simply revealing what's in their own hearts. Frank Viola "Revise Us Again" p.89
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Re: Married but not legally?

Postby MoNatureMan » Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:19 pm

A lot of good interesting discussion.
I hadn't thought of common law marriage.

Ooooooooo
I see a problem.
I know of a family where a son and daughter never left home. If that happens in a 'common law marriage' state and the parents all die, you have brother and sister living together. The IRS will say they are married by state common law and taxes need to be paid that way, while the state says they can't be married, because they are brother and sister. :argh: :lol: :lol:

Anyway good conversation.
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Re: Married but not legally?

Postby Petros » Wed Jan 14, 2015 3:37 am

As I remarked elsewhere,

The truth, the stark naked truth, the truth without so much as a loincloth on, should surely be the investigator's sole aim - Basil Chamberlain
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Re: Married but not legally?

Postby New_Adventurer » Wed Jan 14, 2015 4:07 am

First step is having a trust fund, a will, and a contract that addresses what the law defines for married couples. We specifically stated we did not want to just live together, we wanted to be married, both spiritually and legally.

Plan ahead and do your research, we did. My first wife passed in 2009 and my fiancé’s second husband passed in 2008. Prior to our (legal) marriage we met with a Social Security representative and asked many questions about how to prevent any losses of benefits. In our case we did separate accounting. When I retired I had a private pension, a public pension, and SSA. When she retired she chose to get her private pension and her late husband’s SSA widow’s benefit until she turns 66, when she will get her own SSA. We are now making more money in retirement than we did working, we have a big bank account, and we have more time to spend it.

I feel sorry for the people who are in a bind and unable to retire with enough money to live on.
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Re: Married but not legally?

Postby JimShedd112 » Wed Jan 14, 2015 8:53 am

Great advice New_Adventurer. I hope many will read and heed the advice. My wife and I (now in our 42nd year of "legal" marriage) have a trust to avoid probate in the event of our death(s) so our assets may pass freely from one to the other and ultimately to our heir(s) without the need to pay court fees, etc (probate) for a judge to decide how to divide our assets.

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Re: Married but not legally?

Postby natman » Wed Jan 14, 2015 12:17 pm

MoNatureMan wrote:I know of a family where a son and daughter never left home. If that happens in a 'common law marriage' state and the parents all die, you have brother and sister living together. The IRS will say they are married by state common law and taxes need to be paid that way, while the state says they can't be married, because they are brother and sister. :argh: :lol: :lol:


Not exactly. As I understand "Common-Law" marriage, it is not enough that you merely "live together", but that you "present" yourselves as "husband and wife" to other in the community/state.

Regardless, if you are not going to "legally" marry, it is a good idea to have a wills that bequeaths your personal properties to your "spouse" and visa-versa in the event of a death.
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Re: Married but not legally?

Postby MoNatureMan » Wed Jan 14, 2015 12:48 pm

Thinking.
That argggggg and lol together of mine probably don't belong together.
Looking at the way government sometimes works, that situation could possibly happen and that would not be a laughing matter.

My pastor has talked about senior people living together without being married as a bad representation to the young. I wondered why he would bring up that issue, then when one of the deacons of the church died, we learned, his wife had a different name. The deacon was deaconed by a previous pastor and apparently started the pastor thinking about that issue. If the case and time arise I may talk to him about that issue, including some of the things brought up in this conversation.

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Re: Married but not legally?

Postby jochanaan » Wed Jan 14, 2015 1:23 pm

MoNatureMan wrote:A lot of good interesting discussion.
I hadn't thought of common law marriage.

Ooooooooo
I see a problem.
I know of a family where a son and daughter never left home. If that happens in a 'common law marriage' state and the parents all die, you have brother and sister living together. The IRS will say they are married by state common law and taxes need to be paid that way, while the state says they can't be married, because they are brother and sister. :argh: :lol: :lol:

Anyway good conversation.
Ron :cross:
When I first moved to Colorado, I lived with my two sisters in the house that had been our grandparents' and was willed to us jointly. Would that have made us a menage a trois in the law's eyes? :lol: :mrgreen: :lol:
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Re: Married but not legally?

Postby Bare_Truth » Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:19 pm

Times change, but I cannot imagine a conversation like this, if it took place some 30 years ago, as being regarded as anything but at least slightly scandalous among most Christians. But I can imagine it now, rather easily too!

What has changed about "Christian collaboration with the Government ?

I would propose that one major factor is that the Government has decided to play fast and loose with the definition of "Marriage". So now it is not irrational for Christians to take an attitude toward the Government of saying:
See to your own house on matters of marriage and we will see to ours. Our definitions of marriage are now substantially at odds with yours. Now we are talking about very different things, so, we will set our own standards of what constitutes a marriage and if that does not suit your purposes, remember you are the ones who changed things that are essentially a moral and religious matter. Do not expect our support of your agenda! as we have different understandings of what the word "Marriage" means


And now back on topic about Social security. If one understands that the SS system is a socialist government program, then anyone gaming the system with respect to marriage is probably breaking the law, at least in spirit and probably per the letter.

If I am correct in that assessment, then it does not bother me so much that the schemes to prevent losing financial benefit from Social Security are essentially gaming the system or defrauding the government.

Because they mean something different by the word "marriage" than we do and we can meet their definition for their purposes separately from meeting our definitions for our purposes. Maybe it is legal, but then we must also ask if it is Christian. ( As an extreme example, it is my understanding that zoosexuality is still legal in some states, but that does not mean it is OK for a Christian.)

Please understand that the social security system is not a "Pension" in the real sense of the word where in return for faithful and diligent work you receive payments in your retirement, often in proportion to how you benefited your employer.

Social security is a socialist program in which certain contributors:
-- employers
-- "some" workers
are "taxed" to support the program because they purportedly have the ability to pay and then certain classes of people in the society receive benefits from the program according to their needs. E.G.:
-- retirees
-- children of some deceased workers,
-- spouses of some workers,
-- certain disabled who cannot work to support them selves, (e.g. drug addicts on maintainance programs)
-- etc.
all based on certain classes of their needs as defined by the government.

This is all based on the socialist outlook that says:
From each according to his ability.
To each according to his need.


In my reading of JW printed instruction to elders of local congregationsn(not their usual literature and there is a story behind how I got it). They have been doing this sort of thing in countries where some state established church or legal authority has left their members in a situation where they cannot obtain a legal divorce from an abusive marriage. The JW organization will perform a marriage for members where this situation exists. (often where the hostile spouse blocks the ability of the JW spouse from abiding by JW doctrine). However they do impose a requirement that if the opportunity arises to obtain a divorce, that the couple must do so and if married within the JW faith they must then legally register the marriage. It is my understanding that this has occurred in certain South American countries and it is not always only JW's who flaunt the civil law in those societies.

As the SS budget gets tighter and closer to collapse we should expect that there will be more scrutiny of those who are gaming the system. So those engaging in such fraud may find that they could end up having to pay back the over payment of benefits plus fines and penalties and even the confiscation of assets. Perhaps a lawyer should be consulted to help establish a liability shield, through trusts and the other artful doings of such things by contracts, deeding property to the heirs with a lifetime lease for the parents, etc.etc.

But certainly some of this falls into the same sort of area of taking advantage of every available tax deduction even when it is unbalanced or not fair or evenhanded.

The loss to society is that if churches start doing this wholesale, that it provides societal support for those who are gaming the governmental system and only encourages general lawlessness.
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P.S. If we have any JW members here who read this, nothing offensive was intended in referencing JW policy.
Likewise nothing should be inferred about comparisons from my reference to the matter of zoosexuality, I merely wanted an example so blatant that there should be no confusion between legality and Christian acceptability.
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Re: Married but not legally?

Postby natman » Thu Jan 15, 2015 5:59 pm

"Zoosexuality"? Do you mean "beastiality"?

Social Security is more pseudo-socialist. In socialism, the distribution would be to everyone based on their need. With Social Security, benefits are paid to those who have worked enough hours or to their dependents up to a certain age if they die.

What concerns me is that the Federal Government has "borrowed" money from the Social Security fund for use for other things unrelated to Social Security. Also, the demographics used to calculate the financial structure of Social Security no longer exist. At the time that Social Security was introduced, the vast majority of household were intact, consisting of one father, one mother and 2.35 (or so) children, with the intent that those 2.35 children would become wage earners to carry the burden of the prior generation. Now, families are broken, consisting of one mother or one father, and an average of far less than 2 children. Also, with the prevalence of divorce, spousal benefits have increased. (My ex-wife has been "living with" her boy-friend for 14 years, but refuses to marry him because she is counting on collecting on my Social Security benefits if I die. I was concerned that my current wife would not receive my benefits, but was told by Social Security that, in fact, they BOTH will receive full death benefits if I die. (???) That just means that they would receive the higher of my benefits or their own.)
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