Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Polyamorous Relationships - Marraige

My blog post today was simply going to be about what I discovered while writing on my current WIP. It sort of turned serious in a place or two, and will probably be controversial. Opinions will differ from mine and I'm perfectly fine with that. The only thing I ask, is that if you comment, please be respectful. Thank you. :)

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 penalty, sorry, tax for that "gift". Now if Trent legally married AJ, then Brock could receive $28,000 because he could be gifted $14,000 from Trent AND $14,000 form AJ.

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."


  1. I didn't know all that about the money and taxes. I do research on my boys as well, even if they are "fictional" because I want all their experiences to be believable. I will remember this read, Lexi! Thanks for the blog!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the post, mleannephoenix! Here's some extra info. There is lifetime maximum for giving gifts that is just over 5 million. According to the IRS, giving gifts over $14000 has to be reported every year and it goes to the life time maximum. The tax doesn't apply until the LTM has been met but from that point on, the giver is taxed 40% for any gifts to anyone of any amount. (So 40% fed tax on income and 40% gift tax) If the giver can't pay the tax then the IRS looks to the receiver. In this story, the football player is the one who bought the condo, which was around five million, two thirds of that would apply towards the gift maximum. The player would reach the life time max much sooner than I had anticipated, which would mean that spending the rest of his life with his lovers will be costly. Even if he later acquired a career making less money, he would still have to report any money he shared/gave to his lovers at the same tax percentage. And, for football players, they are taxed by the states for income tax on their away games. Each state sets their own percentage. Payton Manning paid to played in the superbowl last year because the income tax consumed his pay for the game, going beyond it. The same applies for basketball and baseball, with baseball players being hit the worst because of the number of games they play per year. Cheer!

  2. I think that negative perception about the poly relationships on those TV specials/reports from the 80s and 90s (sorry, I'm a bit older than you) had a lot more to do with the fact that almost always, the women in those situations have had little to no autonomy or power over any parts of their lives ever. And the truth is that those relationships were a lot more unequal in many ways - not just economically and educationally.

    With Sister Wives, I think most people are more "worried" about what kinds of lessons those relationships are teaching the children of those (that?) family. I don't think that the same type of concerns about economic and educational control and the inability of those women to actually make their way in the world. And those kids all seem pretty well adjusted to me - well I have to admit I base that off of the like 10 total minutes I've ever seen of that show. If you give kids parents that love them and that they KNOW are going to be there for them - whether it's 2 or 4 - most times (if they are good parents) those kids will be fine :)

    The whole tax code needs to be overhauled, but as we have seen, there is NO stomach for that in Congress at all. As a person who pays a BUTTLOAD of taxes, I figure you gotta be making money to pay taxes, so you might as well be grateful, shut up and get on with it and understand that you are benefiting from the system more than others. Hey, at least that gift limit was raised from the $10K it was stuck at for so long :) (See - I really am old. Although I'm not even sure why I know that. I've NEVER been gifted with any money - LOL!)

    1. The tax codes do need to be overhauled but nobody dares touch it because the bureaucrats are afraid of getting lynched. Taxes are a touchy subject for a lot of people. Everyone has their own ideas of what is fair and right. :) When my dad and husband start talking taxes it's time for me to just leave the room, maybe the house. LOL!

      And you are only a tad bit older than me, lady!