Monday, July 30, 2012

Playing House by Tiffany Braxton Belvin

I refer to unmarried couples living together as "playing house". Each person has the benefit of virtually going through the marital routine, but there is no legal commitment or obligation. There are also no entitlements. (Only 16 states have common law marriages and in some of those states the union had to be created prior to a certain date) 

This came to mind this morning because on yesterday KL's family had to make a difficult decision of taking a member of the family off life support. I don't know what her martial status was, but it made me think how complicated things can get.

Prior to getting married KL and I played house. I remember having a discussion on this very topic of what we would do if either one of us were faced with this same difficult decision. Each of us agreed that we would not want to be on life-sustaining equipment, however imagine if our families felt different.

A situation that is already emotionally taxing is amplified by having to possibly go through litigation to carry out your partner's final requests. Or, Imagine not having any input on a final resting place. Things as simple as what the deceased will wear before they are laid to rest. Maybe, you both talked about sharing a burial plot. Now, because you're technically not family it's decided that you don't get to "rest in peace" with your loved one in the "family's" plot.

I'm throwing some things out there because I know we all have heard our share of horror stories when it comes to playing house. Custody battles. Financial and property wars. Imagine being told you're not his wife/husband you have no say in the matter; family will take care of it.

Yes, you and your partner's family may be on good terms, now, but let your partner have a lucrative income or property assets at the time of their death and see what part of the family tree you sit on.

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