My current writing project is Keeping Faith, the sequel to Playing For Keeps. It's set in the December holiday season and I wanted Trent, Brock, and AJ to have some kind of special tradition for the Christmas season. If you're familiar with Playing For Keeps, you know that Trent was selected in the NFL draft by the Miami Dolphins.
Respectively, this places his income way above Brock and AJ's who are both working part-time jobs and going to college. I thought it would be cool if the boys shared finances, Living Wills, beneficiary and medical authority authorizations. I wanted to shape them into a family in every way possible even if they don't have the legal certificates binding them together.
Let's face it, people living in such relationships aren't going to be allowed to marry for some time. When most people think of poly relationships they automatically conjure up the man with twelve wives, sometimes sister wives, who live in religious communes. Am I wrong? Growing up, that was what was shown on the TV specials over and over again. I also remember the one show where an agency was going in and helping women to escape these types of relationships, some of them were shoved into the life style as teenagers. Many times these women are undocumented--home births, no jobs outside the home, no social security card, absolutely nothing that let the outside world know that they exist. It's scary and horrifying and I do not begrudge all the parents who clutch their children and say 'not in my lifetime.'
In my opinion, that is what happens when you make something illegal. Real living, breathing, people slip through the cracks and no one is looking for them because the majority of the people will abide by the law. When something like that makes an ABC special, it's just a reminder how horrible poly "relationships" can be to the general populous... and it is one of the first things they think of when someone brings up the topic. And it's skews perception. I mean, really, it's like saying all marriages are filled with domestic abuse.
So I was trying to shape Trent, AJ, and Brock's finances as much like a married couple as LEGALLY possible. There are documents that a lawyer can draw up for things like medical authority, to make sure a someone has access to you while you are in the hospital and is consulted on treatment. But sharing finances, that is a whole other ballpark. In a marriage, people share banks accounts, have their names on leases, mortgages, and deeds without being assigned a TAX. Laugh all you want. Taxes are a nasty business and people who make a lot of money spend a good deal of time trying to find ways out of paying it. I was no different when I was trying to create this household for my guys.
Let me explain. Trent now has a multi-million dollar contract to play football for the Miami Dolphins. By law, he can "gift" an individual up to $14,000 a year. Anything over he pays a "gift tax." Any cars, homes, or businesses that Trent buys or invests in, and puts AJ or Brock's name on, if the value is over $14,000 then there is
Now, I'm all about people paying their taxes because they are used for our infrastructure (unless some sorry SOB misappropriates the money). And it really peeves me when people who make a ton of money search for ways to get around the law. Most states have laws on the books for civil unions. If a man and woman live together for seven years, they are considered by law as married. If a couple of women live together for seven years, they are roommates. I wanted my guys to be a family. They aren't people who are taking advantage of the young or abusing their power over one another. And Yes, I know they are fictional but there are people out there in the world who live in poly relationship that are equal, loving, between consenting adults, and just as loyal and committed as a standard couple.
Making Trent choose between Brock and AJ to marry just felt wrong, and had the potential to alienate one lover over the other. My husband told me not to worry about the financial issues of my characters, "You write fiction." But it does play into the story of them being in a menage relationship, a burden they have to deal with and bear. Even though it isn't integral to the plot, it is one of the factors that make up their life. It will have a cause and effect, and something I can't ignore.
So the next time you see a story about a young sportsman who buys his momma a house or car, remember he paid out the nose twice for the "gift."