The Polyamorous Misanthrope
Just for Fun
What is Polyamory?
Featuring Spice! -- The PolyFamily Web Comic
Polyamory for the Practical
Marriage and Legal Benefits
As of April 29, 2004, none of this advice can apply in the Commonwealth of Virginia. House Bill No. 751 "Marriage Affirmation Act" bans gay marriage or civil union, and bans recognizing gay marriages or civil unions performed in other states, but it also bans any "partnership contract or other arrangements that purport to provide the benefits of marriage."
This means wills, custody agreements, powers of attorney, joint property, and medical powers of attorney that poly families in Virginia can be easily overturned. Even if you're a couple that CHOOSES not to be married, you're going to be very much at the mercy of how liberal or not the judge is.
Why do people get legally married?
Good question. The answers usually runs thus: "We love each other
share our lives with each other and we have a public ceremony to make a
commitment to that effect."
Well, if that's so, then why bother with getting a piece of paper from
State? Seriously. You can hire a hall, get some minister or other
mumble whatever over you, speak your vows and go on to have one
hell of a party.
But when people get married they don't do that, do they? They get a piece
paper from the State rather like the one I have in the filing cabinet
next to me. It lists my name, my legal husband's name and the name
minister who pronounced over us those magic words, "By the power
invested in me
by the (State of your choice) I pronounce you man and
What did we get for going to the trouble of going to City Hall and getting
forms filled out rather than having the party and moving in without all
I got to change my name without going before a judge
I get to file my income taxes jointly.
I get to be listed by my husband as a dependent (This means I get life
through him at work
If I die intestate, my son get most of my property, managed by my husband
he reaches the age of majority
If there is a medical emergency and I cannot speak for myself, my husband
make those decisions for me.
If there is a medical emergency with my son and I am unavailable, my
can direct his care
Any property gained during the marriage (upon its breakup) is
considered community property. (At least in my state).
Notice we're dealing mostly with taxes, inheritance, and medical
here. These are things that are assumed to accompany the marriage
However, there are no major benefits of marriage that cannot be arranged
another way if that is what you wish.
Let's get the easy stuff out of the way first.
You can write a will to do pretty much anything you like. If a close
has a claim, it is entirely likely that your will will be
contested. There are
ways to rig this if you have enough property to
matter. You can also create a
living trust. Without going into too much
detail, a living trust is an entity
similar to a corporation that owns
your property with whomever you wish. If a
member of the trust dies, the
trust goes on and the property does not hit
probate. For more on this
check out the
Nolo Press article
This is actually a somewhat difficult and expensive one. I am
the opinion that it is best if a poly family can simply start a
together. Then insurance can be handled through a major medical
and a medical savings account. I've become somewhat
disgusted with HMOs,
personally and would have done exactly this even if
we were not a poly marriage.
Here we have an easy one. It's called a "Medical
Power of Attorney". I found a pretty good article on what it
can and cannot do as well as its powers and limitations. In
a nutshell, it provides for the person holding the MPA to make medical
and ONLY medical decisions for you if you are incompetent to make
a decision at that point. (i.e. unconsciousness). Here
is a fairly through article on it,
Children and custody
This is a hard one. Were anything to happen to me and Our
Prince, -the biological parents of our son- we would want the Goddess
of Giggle and The Beast to rear him. It's only natural.
They are both very involved in his care, as are The Prince and I
the biological daughter of the Goddess of Giggle and The Beast.
In such an instance, it is important for each person to have a will
and name up to two guardians for the children. If you are
legally married make sure that each spouse has a will and names
the guardians in the same order. You can also grant an authorization
for childcare for any spice you might have with
form. It's not likely to be binding in court, but it does provide
written documentation of your wishes and permits your spice to seek
medical care for your child and gives them authority to pick them
up at school and sign for field trips and the like.
Obviously, that's the easy part. What if the guardianship
That's a good question, class. It shows you're taking an interest
in the work. If no-one else has any other questions, we'll call
it a day.
No, I wouldn't buy that, either. Guys, the bad news is that
courts tend to favor blood relatives -- especially when said relatives
are overtly solid citizens. "The best interests of the child"
is usually interpreted as, "the one in a best financial position
to support a child". Need I point out that life insurance
is a good idea? Now, if you can prove abuse or neglect, that's a
different matter. I suggest hauling things out in the open
and settling them
a court case poisons everyone.
Another thing you might consider is saving up for a Poly Legal
you move in together. One gentleman from
a poly family with which I am familiar commented that he thinks
that $5,000 for such a fund is quite a wise idea. With three or
four wage earners saving, it can take less than a year to come up
Own a business -- by preference an S corporation, where things you would like
to have are legitimate business expenses. I'll use OLQ as an example. In the
tax bracket of either couple in our marriage, if we bring in another, say $6500
in personal income, we'd have to pay around $2600 in various taxes. If that is
money that is brought into a corporation and used for things that business
might need, then you can have those things and because the business owns it,
you can pay for them
you pay a cent in taxes. Our business pays for our high speed Internet
connection, and part of our rent and utilities since both computers are in the
same room and they are used almost exclusively for web design work and business
Do be sure to run your business at least on a break even basis. If you've
formed an S-corporation, you can even have a personal advantage in taxes by
running it at a loss for a few years while still having the use of some toys
and things you might want.
By the way, this is advice for a tax shelter, not so much so for making a great
deal of cash, but a way to get more
on a pre-tax basis.
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