KYW Regional Affairs Council
By Hadas Kuznits
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — So what are the pros and cons of legal marriage to parents who are already committed to each other? And what are the possible pros and cons to their children?
Ellen Mogell, for instance, has a ten-year relationship with her boyfriend, Jeb Woody (see previous installments). They run a popular Northern Liberties restaurant together and have one child together, with another on the way.
She says there are pros and cons to not being married.
“I guess the pros are the same as any long-term, committed relationship: you have a partner who’s your friend. And, I don’t know, I mean, he’s a great dad, he’s a great partner.”
But they don’t get the tax break that married couples enjoy.
“I think it closes your options financially, taxwise,” she says.
But more importantly, she worries what would happen if something happened to one of them.
“Legally, I think it’s much better to be married,” Mogell notes.
Then, she adds, there is the odd way that unmarried couples with children are sometimes treated by society — including things that she and Jeb had never considered beforehand.
“When you are trying to leave a hospital with your baby and you’re unmarried, there’s some really obnoxious paperwork for the dad,” she recalls.
Meanwhile, Dr. Stephen Treat (right) with the Council for Relationships says there are emotional pros and cons to not marrying.
“I think that the deeper, more difficult material will tend to come out in a marriage in a way it won’t come out if you’re a little more distant, a little less involved, a little less committed, a little less legally tied,” he notes. “Some of that material might not come out in the same kind of way. And the downside to that, of course, is it can’t heal.”
And let’s not forget the outside influences.
“I think my dad nagged,” Mogell recalls, “and then maybe he realized he didn’t even care what his friends or his family thought.”
“I certainly don’t think he would want to pay for me to get married!”
Listen to Part 4…