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Old 02-17-2010, 08:31 PM
saudade saudade is offline
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Location: Boston, MA
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Red face Marriage in the Poly Context... Sharing and Seeking Advice

Preface: I'm new to the forum, and minimally internet-proficient. I looked at the other threads with 'marriage' tagged, and didn't find quite what I was looking for. If there's other threads around here on this topic, please by all means refer me. Thanks! ALSO, I'm wordy as hell, because there's a lot of context to explain why I'm asking... I hope that's not too much of a bother.

Here's my big question: If it's applicable to your relationship situation, I'm curious how a legal marriage impacts the larger 'formation'. Is there anything you're doing, big or small, that keeps that dynamic functional?

My context: My partner K and I (our relationship has always been a poly one) were just getting engaged a year ago when Z and I began dating. It quickly became clear to us all that we made sense as a V relationship, and so that's how we're functioning... and K and I are still planning to become legally married this coming fall.

For K & I, getting married makes a lot of legal and emotional sense. Before Z came into the picture, I always pictured K & I as a hub that others could join onto, into whatever 'formation' made good sense. We're also keenly aware of the legal benefits marriage provides, and we plan on using them to bolster our defenses against outside issues. (For example, I don't think any of our parents would ever contest custody of the children we'd like to have, but in the U.S. it's apparently not a risk to ignore.)

Z has known about all of this since before we started dating. He hadn't ever considered trying poly before getting involved with me, so this is new emotional territory for him. There have been bumpy patches, but we're all committed to working through them.

In our little vee, we've already found some answers that work for us. At the wedding, Z will be the best man, and he's having a collar custom-made to match my wedding dress! Z and I are also talking about having our own (non-legal, sadly) wedding in a couple of years, at which point we'll tie down a lawyer until we can afford Z as many marriage protections as we possibly can. (In Massachusetts, we should do pretty well.) We've also tentatively agreed that Z will have biological paternity, at least of our first child.

... Anyone else tackling this sort of thing?

"I was thorough when I looked for you, and I feel justified lying in your arms." - Chasing Amy
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Old 02-17-2010, 10:30 PM
GroundedSpirit GroundedSpirit is offline
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Location: New England USA
Posts: 1,231

Hi Saudade,

Yes - I believe you may find a few experienced people here having some experience in this. Hopefully your post catches their eye !
There has been considerable discussion here that I've seen highlighting the possible legal implications in particular. I think the most promising concept I've seen to cover some of the bases is the formation of a LLC. I think it's something worth at least learning about and consulting a qualified attorney.
Please keep us all posted about things you discover.
With the continued growth of the poly community these are issues that will become important to growing numbers of people.


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Old 02-17-2010, 10:55 PM
polytriad polytriad is offline
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Hey there Hi there Hello there saudade

My wife and I were married in a non ploy relationship before we meet or Sweet sweet nikki. But had we known then what we know now what you are doing sounds exactly the way we would handle it. My wife and I have talked about how we can give nikki a felling of having stock in our impending relationship. I too think the best thing to do is get a lawyer to to draw up some legal doc to to make your "not so marriage marriage" actually have a leg to stand on.

Cool thing about my situation is that we all already have the same last name

hope it all works out for you

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Old 02-18-2010, 08:05 AM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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I know these are morbid comments and not exactly what you asked, but it's the kind of thing that people tend to avoid because it's uncomfortable, but which can cause so much pain for those left behind at the worst time to deal with bull****

Something you'll definitely want to have in place which no one likes to think about is iron-clad wills for all three of you, outlining exactly what will happen if something happens to you and your husband, or you and Z, etc. If you and Z are killed in a car crash, you want to make sure Z's parents can't take your kids away from your husband. So then it's really important for Z to have a will saying that he wants the kids raised by your husband. If you and your husband die, you want to make sure that Z won't have his home taken away from him (assuming he's living with you).
As I am sure any cat owner will be able to tell you,
someone else putting you in a box is entirely different
from getting into a box yourself.
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Old 02-18-2010, 08:15 PM
Ravenesque Ravenesque is offline
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I don't think you were being morbid at all SchrodingersCat. Practical perhaps.

There are alternatives to marriage when it comes to securing assets, possessions and each other.

Wills are fine but a will alone can get tied up in probate court which costs time and money. There are also inheritance taxes. A more secure route, which includes wills, is estate planning.

Estate planning includes a will, a living will or health care proxy, assignment of power of attorney and a trust. There are nifty software programs out there that allow you to handle all of this, or if you have the means, you can hire a lawyer to do it for you.

It may be useful to look up the difference between Tenants In Common and Joint Tenancy in regards to owning a house together in a poly configuration.

One thing I have found interesting is the action of forming a corporation. I've dug a little and it is recommended in some poly places to form an LLC. The general recommendation seems to be towards forming a corporation or creating a living trust but not both possibly because it may be redundant in areas.

Some of these things I came across while doing business research for something altogether unrelated to polyamorous families, some while looking up poly related things, and some related to myself as a person who doesn't want to get married yet still wants to protect their family. I am "single" in the eyes of the law which causes problems with healthcare and more.

When I use the word family, it refers to those who I intentionally choose and who intentionally choose me to share life and love, accepting and affirming all that we are as human beings.

I've included a few poly links which speak about these topics.

Polyamorous Percolations: The 2006 Poly Living Conference: Notes and Impressions (keyword to ctrl + f would be corporation)

PolyFamilies: Polyamory for the Practical (from the Polyamorous Misanthrope)

Polyamory and Legalities (subtitled "Marriage and the Legal Benefits," another from Polyamorous Misanthrope)

Suze Orman also likes to babble on about living trusts and wills and other things about protecting your family. She has pretty good info. Buying/borrowing some books about financial and estate planning may be helpful as well.

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Old 02-18-2010, 08:39 PM
GroundedSpirit GroundedSpirit is offline
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Default Awesome


That was great ! Thank you.
This topic has come up various times in bits & pieces so there are quite a few good links in some of the links you provided- now in one place.

It also dawned on me that if anyone chose to seek legal counsel and was unsure of discussing such things with a possibly conservative biased attorney, one place to think about would be the list of affiliated attorneys listed with NORML. I would make a leaping assumption that any attorney liberal minded enough to support legalization would likely be liberal (and maybe curious) enough to do a good job with poly legal affairs.

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Old 02-19-2010, 01:30 AM
darthsabbath darthsabbath is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 11

My wife and I were married before we became poly, so this has been something of a topic of discussion between us. We're not interested in secondaries... ultimately we're interested in expanding our family. The legal and emotional logistics do seem challenging though... the tip about NORML is certainly appreciated.
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