My family is one of many that would be considered unconventional. I’m the mother of a handsome 19 month-old boy. His father and I are not married, however, we are together. We live under one roof and function as a married couple. Many families function like this. The majority that I have encountered are waiting on one thing or another before they actually get married. We’re not that couple. Again this may not seem that odd, but I live in the south.
For those of you that do not understand, marriage is the end game for young women in the south. Whether they want to believe it or not, marriage IS the end game. Dreams of an outstanding career are quickly put on the back-burner at the smallest inclination that a man is going to pop the question. For some reason, a wedding is the biggest goal of a southern mother. The pressure that they put on their daughters is unreal. That being said, I am the daughter of a southern mother and I am not married nor am I planning a wedding. Every time I have to tell her that we are not talking about marriage she sounds like Mushu from Mulan. “Dishonor, dishonor on you, dishonor on your cow”.
Truly, I would love to get married, but logically that’s not possible. Unless something drastically changes. There are some huge factors that are keeping us from this.
The biggest one is Money…
Yes, everyone knows that money is what it take to pay for a wedding, but I’m not talking about the wedding. I’m talking about the marriage. If finances for a wedding are out of the question, then skip the wedding altogether at go get married at the justice of the peace.
The money that I’m referring to is the money that it takes to maintain necessities in a marriage, like health insurance. As an unmarried woman, my child receives state help for health insurance. Not me, my child. I do have private insurance that covers both him and me, but healthcare is expensive. My son is 19 months old and has had two hospital admissions as well as on surgery. Without state help, we would not have been able to afford any of this. Truth be told, unless they are making Oprah type money, a person under 30 probably cannot afford that type hospital bill. Let alone a surgical procedure.
If we were to get married, our son would lose his state assistance and we would put ourselves in financial vice. Before the crowd goes into this, “Don’t have children if you are not ready”. Our son was not planned and we took measures to ensure that we would not get pregnant. Birth control/contraceptives are not 100% effective. Our child is living proof.
You must also look at things like debt. Once married, debt is now shared. I’m not sure how it is in other states, but here all medical/hospital bills are subject to be turned over to the department of revenue at the end of each fiscal year. A lot of people get turned over, every year. It’s not as simple as not paying your bill, at least not for the hospital bills. The medical bills, it is that simple. But for one emergency room stay, you have the doctor’s bill, which is one account number; the facilities bill, which is another account number; the lab bill, which is another account number; and if you happened to need anything to go home with, your equipment bill, which is another account number. The funny thing is, if you need to set up a payment plan, you would need to set up 4 different payment plans. All the payment plans start at $25 per month. Don’t let your issue not be resolved and you have to go back. Then you would get 4 more account numbers. You could think that you’re paying on one and never even realize that you have outstanding debt.
When the department of revenue collects, they collect from you and your spouse. Depending on your spouse and how they are handling the situation, the dept. or rev. may collect by garnishing 25% of your wages. This could easily be solved with communication, but what if you partner does not really understand how this type of collection account works?
My Love and I are very happy together. We have discussed possibly having a ceremony to say our vows without ever signing the legal documents. To ensure the safety and well-being of each other, we each have a last will and testament. This way if something happens to either of us, our child and the other person will have some sort of financial cushion for a short time. Love is not in doubt with us, the institution of marriage is.