In society today, you will most likely find men and women living together more common than ever before. Some think this is because couples would rather live together in a domestic partnership instead of making their union "official". Is there really that big of a difference between living together and being married? Here is a look at a few of the different scenarios that can happen when living together versus being married is compared. It is up to you to decide which is more beneficial but it definitely can be seen from both sides of the coin.
When you are considering splitting up, nothing is more confusing and complicated. If you have decided to separate in a marriage, you more than likely will start with divorce proceedings. If this is the case, you can expect to pay a hefty price for court fees, lawyers, and possibly spousal support before the divorce is final. This can be a short and sweet deal or it can go on for weeks, months, or even years.
When you are "simply" ending a long term relationship or domestic partnership, things may not be as cut and try as you think. While it will be easy to walk out the door (or put the other person out), it does not end there. You can run into all sorts of complications with bills owed, debts incurred, and his/hers personal property dealings. This could end up being nearly as costly as a divorce and much more difficult to sort out.
When you are married, everything you make (money wise) becomes joint property. This makes sayings like "my money" go out the window. While you definitely can have your own money, in the eyes of the law it still is described as "our money". This works pretty well for some people though. If you have the concern about having your "own" money before getting married, you can have your future spouse sign a prenuptial agreement and protect your "before" assets. The prenuptial is done mainly with the rich and famous.
When you are just living with someone, everything is "yours" not "ours". This may work fine for couples, but for others it can be a disaster. If you have been living with someone for many years and have helped contribute to a house (or any other major purchase) you may just be out of luck and money. If you are just living as partners, make sure you both have your name on a lease, mortgage, car, or anything else you both plan to pay for. Making sure you are both listed will give the other some sort of protection if the relationship fails and you have made an investment together.
When you are married, your spouse is always considered next of kin. When you receive medical treatments that you cannot agree to (medical emergencies), your spouse can act on your behalf and give the doctors consent to operate or whatever is needed. If you were ever on life support, your spouse would be the one to essentially make the decision to "pull the plug". This is something beneficial about being married. Who else would know you better and what your wishes are but your spouse?
If you are in a domestic partnership, your partner is not your next of kin. Your parents, children (if of adult age), and blooded family would come ahead of your partner when having to make those tough choices. Again, it is entirely up to you about what you want to happen in cases of consent and of course making a will is always an option.