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Baby without marriage?

(47 Posts)
Speldnan Fri 12-Aug-11 13:56:43

My daughter and her partner are expecting their first child next year. They have a stable and happy relationship and are both over 30 so know their own minds! They are in the process of buying a bigger house and have a good joint income. However-inspite of all this, certain members of the family ie grandparents, siblings and others, have asked them when they are getting married. My daughter is a rather unconventional woman and is not into showy weddings or legalities so it is not surprising that she doesn't want to go down this route.
She gets very angry when they are constantly asked this question. I haven't put any pressure on her myself as I don't actually have much faith in marriage myself (being divorced). Even so, if I mention other people's reactions she thinks I secretly want this for her too!
I would love to hear from other grans about their experiences on this subject.
Are your grandchildrens' parents mostly married?
If they aren't-does it bother you or your extended family?
Do you think it is better for children to have married parents or does it not really matter these days?
I look forward to some feedback

absentgrana Fri 12-Aug-11 14:04:50

I don't think it's better or worse for children if their parents are married or not, as long as they are loved and in a loving family unit. It can matter a great deal for the parents because marriage is a legally binding contract that ensures certain rights – inheritance of spouse's assets without inheritance tax and guardianship of children, as well as certain slightly vague rules in the case of divorce. There is no such thing as a common law marriage and couples have come badly unstuck because they thought there was. This is part of the reason for the introduction of civil partnerships for gay couples because, as they were unable to marry, they could not share the same legal rights and protections as a married couple even if their's was a lifetime partnership.

My daughter married her second husband a couple of years ago with all four children in attendance – two little bridesmaids, one extremely proud ringbearer in his very first waistcoat and a baby looked after by his other grandmother. It was their choice and did not involve any pressure from either side of the family.

Speldnan Fri 12-Aug-11 14:11:42

thanks for this-I thought that was the case about the legal side.
I think my daughter will get married eventually-when THEY want to rather than at the conventional time. Hopefully they won't come up against any legal complications before then.

jackyann Fri 12-Aug-11 14:15:56

There are advantages to being married, but if not, you need to make sure the following are in place:
Baby's father is present at registration to put his name on the birth certificate, to ensure he has equal parental responsibility.
They make wills leaving their share in the house & necessary money to each other.

Otherwise, I do think that our job as a parent is sometimes to protect our kids from busybodies, especially at vulnerable times. As I wrote on the "sayings" thread: there's always some b^443r who thinks they can live your life better than you.

glammanana Fri 12-Aug-11 15:33:38

Just want to say agree with every word jackyann

Granny23 Fri 12-Aug-11 15:34:42

Neither of my DDs is married to their long term partners - one couple have 2DC and the other has 1DD. DH & I do not have any problem with this, but I dread to think what our parents would have made of it!

However, our sons-out-laws' parents do worry more than we do about it - afraid that if there was a split they might not be as involved with the grandchildren and their sons would lose their homes as both our DDs are the bigger earners and sole not joint owners of their houses. It is often supposed that marriage brings financial benefits and security to the woman, but this is not the case when she has most or equal earnings, pension rights, credit worthiness, etc.

Jacey Fri 12-Aug-11 15:52:58

Totally agree with jackyann ...word of warning, this happened in a colleague's family ...a long term relationship - no marriage... couple with one pre-school child, 2nd on the way ...male picked up a virus ...dead in 48hrs in his name, bank account in his name, all ultilities in his name ...legally, notification has to be made ...all finances frozen ...she had no money to pay bills or buy food ...copying with a sudden unexpected loss is horrendous for any of us, without being pregnant ...without all the trauma of coping with finances and unhelpful utilities companies.
Agree with you in that a marriage often satisfies a need for rest of family ...but like divorce ...may only be a piece of paper ...your daughter and her partner need to get all those other bits of paper sorted for each other's security and for their baby's sake.

Elegran Fri 12-Aug-11 16:59:48

I reckon a formal wedding is just a station on the train journey of a relationship. If you are both aiming toward the same destination, you will enjoy traveling in one another's company whether you have stepped out briefly at that stop and taken vows to stay together, or whether you sailed on regardless. The problems come when one or other party wants to change their ticket while there is still outstanding business - particularly when children are involved.

It takes some doing to stand up in front of all your friends and relations and say out loud, "This is it. For ever. Till death us do part. Or beyond." Perhaps those who can summon up the courage to say (and mean) it are also those who can summon up the courage to make it work when they hit problems, or the sensitivity to avoid those problems altogether.

harrigran Fri 12-Aug-11 17:12:57

I believe that if the decision is made to have children then an effort should be made to marry or ensure partnership has all the legal papers required to protect the family. The heartbreak from discovering that the house/money etc will not automatically be yours must be horrid.

numberplease Fri 12-Aug-11 17:37:13

My eldest son, 4th child, has just married his partner of nearly 16 years, he`s 41 and she`s 39, and they habve 2 sons aged 141/2 and just turned 11. Don`t know why they suddenly decided to do the deed, which they announced last year, but it was a lovely ceremony at a local golf club.

numberplease Fri 12-Aug-11 17:37:48

Sorry, typo there!

pompa Fri 12-Aug-11 17:42:39

We are looking after our GS this weekend, his parents are not married, they are however great & loving parents (why have they gone off for the weekend taking ALL their clothes with them [sceptical]). We would love them to get married, but never put any pressure on them, it is their life and they must make their own choices. Our daughters partners parents have been divorced twice, he has a poor view of marriage. It certainly doesn't concern us that they have not got married, we love them all.

Baggy Fri 12-Aug-11 17:49:10

If people commit to bringing up their children together, in my view they are married. One doesn't need a piece of legal paper for it to be so. We have been indoctrinated into thinking a 'legal' marriage is somehow superior to a private commitment. Given the divorce rate, it clearly isn't.

artygran Fri 12-Aug-11 18:09:40

My DD and her partner have been together for twenty years - their son is four and a half. We have always respected their decision not to marry, have never pressured them, and I know that they have made legal provisions for each other and their son. My daughter always said that when they had children they would consider marriage, but whether they have or not is academic to me. My grandson has his father's surname. Many married couples don't stay together nearly as long as they have and that speaks volumes; and as long as they are happy, it will not be an issue. The only thing I feel sad about is that they don't celebrate any sort of personal anniversary, which I think would be nice.

Stansgran Fri 12-Aug-11 18:29:47

my first grandchild was born in New York soon after 9/11- thus making her American-both parents are European and if anything happened to the mother who travelled a lot in the States- we would have had no rights nor would the father so his father(an international lawyer) pointed out that the baby ,if this happened ,would disappear into the US social services. Alright a long shot but we were all very jumpy about flying in the US after 9/11 for quite some time. I'm all for things cut and dried legally-our children already have power of attorney if needs be and it is good not to have surprises or loose ends

Speldnan Fri 12-Aug-11 19:19:15

thanks so much for all the comments-keep them coming! it is so interesting to see what other people do and their opinions-Gransnet is great!!!smile

absentgrana Fri 12-Aug-11 19:46:38

Just in passing – no one has to "stand up in front of family and friends" unless they choose to do so. It's perfectly possible to get married with just a couple of witnesses without a frilly white dress and a massively expensive reception. The contract is important in terms of the welfare of both partners and their children – boring stuff, but it matters. Right down to things we don't want to think about, such as being the one consulted concerning your terminally ill partner on her/his behalf when he/she is unable to make decisions him/her self. While everyone seems to regard marriage as being flowers and bridesmaids, champagne and presents and those who are not keen talk about "not needing a piece of paper to keep them together", it was always designed as a legal contract. It's not the same everywhere in the world any more, but it still is here.

Baggy Fri 12-Aug-11 19:52:58

I agree about the 'simplicity' of the legal contract, absent, and that's why I'm married. I've acquired the legal contract with minimal fuss on two occasions, neither with a white dress, nor even a new one the second time. But I'm loathe for anyone to feel pressurised. I'd like to see some new law, making the necessary contractual arrangements for a child's parents that marriage gives, but without the marriage being called marriage (at least as it is usually understood). Does that make any sense? hmm

absentgrana Fri 12-Aug-11 19:57:03

Yes Baggy it does. But we have to deal with what is not what we'd like to see, although of course we can work to achieve what we'd like to see. I am not in favour of anyone being pressurised into doing anything, I just feel concern about being someone being left out of the system to their own detriment.

Elegran Fri 12-Aug-11 20:03:11

absentgrana Yes, I accept that family and friends - and everyone except two witnesses - can be absent. The decision is what counts. It still takes a bit of courage to make that irrevocable decision. Not that it has to be irrevocable these days.

absentgrana Fri 12-Aug-11 20:15:34

Oh always Elegran. It took my present husband two years to persuade me that I wanted to marry anyone again – even him. grin

Libradi Fri 12-Aug-11 20:18:32

My DD and her partner are not married and have one 5 year old daughter and another on the way. They have been together happily for 6 years now and are very committed to each other. I think they will one day get married, just one of those things they've not got around to but may one day. My GD has her Dad's surname as will the the baby.

To me they are a loving couple who are no different than if they had a piece of paper to say they were married. I think my mum and DH's mum would like to see them married but neither of them are that bothered really, they are more concerned that they are a happy together and that they bring our GD up in a happy and loving environment.

My DS on the other hand wants to be married before he starts a family (he's getting married next Saturday).

grandmaagain Fri 12-Aug-11 20:20:31

my eldest DD married her partner of 15 yrs a fortnight ago today with their 3yr old daughter a very beautiful and excited bridesmaid. we all had a really wonderful day, very, very happy with both families and friends there. All the trimmings, beautiful dress, suits, the lot !all greatly enjoyed by all present.
My husband has often commented how, if his father had still been alive, he would not have been able to tolerate the situation. How ever times change and love and respect are more important than anything. I asked DD why they had decided to get married now? her answer was when their daughter started school she wanted them all to have the same name it just felt more right to them. I think that is lovely it might be conventional but I still think it is lovely. BY the way SIL is a super chap and we love him to bits always have!

Libradi Fri 12-Aug-11 21:46:25

grandmaagain although my mum accepts the situation with my DD and partner, had my dad still been alive he would never have approved of them not being married and having a child. Having said that I'm sure he would have come round eventually, he would never have been able to resist my DG's smile. smile

dorsetpennt Sat 13-Aug-11 09:12:23

I agree with a lot of the comments above. My only concern, like everyone else, is the legal side. Afterall a wife/husband is next of kin, if they aren't married it's any children of the marriage. If the couple are well organised and cover every eventuality there shouldn't be many problems. However, most people don't even think of that aspect as they get carried along with life in general. As Jacey says if one of the partners should die loads of problems can occur. I'm divorced but I was pleased when my son and his wife were married.