Monday, August 12, 2013


You want two wives? This is an interesting question. Until I wrote this post, in 2013 I assumed that most men would enjoy having one wife and one or two mistresses more than being legally responsible for two full-fledged wives. However, clearly I was wrong. This is by far my most popular post-- which means that lots, and lots of you are typing the heading into search engines. 

Well, I always knew my readers are an extraordinary bunch and you are not most men. (If you are even a man at all— See my post on the latest laws regarding homosexual marriage.)

Unfortunately bigamy, the practice of marrying more than one person, is illegal in every state of our grand nation. I say, “unfortunately” because, as a tax paying citizen, I think any group of consenting adults that want to pledge to keep each other off of the welfare roles should be allowed to do so. “What is that?” you ask.
Let me explain: a spouse’s income and assets are counted in determining eligibility for all sorts of different government assistance programs (to name just a few: Veteran’s medical benefits, housing assistance, children’s educational loans, agricultural loans, medicaid, and social security).  There is no two ways about it, marriage is a money saver for the government and, my theory goes, a money saver for the government is a money saver for me come April.

Now, I know what my feminist readers are thinking— Polygyny, the practice of one husband taking multiple wives, has been condemned as being a form of human rights abuse by many international human rights organizations around the world— so why isn’t Roxanne condemning it?  Does she care more about reducing her tax bill than women’s rights?  And here is my answer: I do not condemn the lovely readers who ask me questions.  I try my best to assist my readers to get the answer they want.  So, now that that is settled, lets move on.

Around the world there is a movement called polyamory that is worth mentioning to you.  For those of you that don’t remember studying all of those Latin words for the SATs, “poly” means “multiple” and “amor” means “love.”  So people who practice polyamory love multiple people simultaneously.  Now, get your head out of the gutter, because these people (who number over 500,000 in the United States) are different from those crazy orgy swingers that we were introduced to so graphically by Sasha Baron Cohen in Bruno (can you go a little easier on us next time Sasha?).  Polyamorus people claim to love multiple people in the same fashion most of us chose to love just one person— as in “we’re in it together for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.”

If you decide that polyamory is your situation, there are a few things I recommend:  First, make sure you do not live in a state that forbids co-habitating in polyamorus relationships.  Next, to the greatest extent possible under the law make sure that your legal relationship fits your actual relationship.  I gave the same advice to unmarried couples.   You need to get your ducks in a row— if you’re “sharing” a house in life you should consider sharing a house on paper.    A household in many ways is a business relationship and it is in this area of law that you will find your solution.  Create a partnership agreement, or even an LLC (limited liability company), for your family that encompasses the promises you have made to each other.  

Remember your tax and estate planning.  There are all sorts of benefits for legally recognized spouses that won’t apply to your situation.  Talk to an estate planning attorney and your tax advisor to make the best out of fitting your curvy peg into the government’s square holes.

So, dear reader, it is up to you.  Do you want a mistress or a formal relationship?

If you want to get real, be real and solidify your intentions with enforceable contracts, an unenforceable promise is just pillow talk.

This was legal information, not legal advice, check my disclaimer.


  1. There may also be tax considerations as you can only give a certain value to somone who is not your spouse as a "gift." Once you hit the limit (I think it's 12 or 14 grand now, I'm not sure) everything above that is taxable as income.
    I don't know if merely having someone in your house would constitute free rental benefit for these purposes, however, if you are trying to protect an additional wife or husband by conveying an interest in property, the value of the conveyance does factor into the tax rule. Gay marriage was facing the possibility of stiff federal tax liability until the recent DOMA ruling by the Supreme Court. On the other hand, if you all buy it together in the first place, there are no tax impact to being tenants in common or joint tenants.
    You also really need to do some complex estate planning, particularly if children are involved.


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