Episode 1

Roommates with Benefits

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When I was young, living together without the benefit of marriage just wasn’t done. Now that it’s the norm, I have one simple rule for you: joint nothing; separate everything! What happened when you ‘played house’ as an adult? You must have stories. Anything to share?

Your stories

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  1. May you live to be 120 years old!

    by Daniel With roommates, you are bound to get into trouble. Si Brent Nicht(Don't worry about it!), it will be fine say your parents. But just when you thought all was going well, the rent goes unpaid, the house is a mess, your items are stolen. Then it turns into a case to be seen by 10 million viewers on Judge Judy. Do you want 10 million viewers to know you are defaulting on your rent, your roommate lied and took your possessions? Even worse, the roomate conducts illegal activities at your home. This is the reason for conducting a background check before you agree to live together. Do a trial run. The Bible or Talmud does not say you have to be roommates for life. If you speak up before embarrassing yourself in front of 10 million viewers, then tell your roommate this is not going to work out. Don't take any excuse about late payments. Have a contract, read it, update it and sign it! Ad meah v'esrim shanah May you live to be 120 years old.
  2. Don't invest too much too early...

    by Heath I know I am not the norm, but as a Christian, I felt the desire to wait until marriage to have sex and cohabitate. I was 31 when I found the love of my life - my wife. We were both virgins at our wedding, and now, it is such a wonderful thing to share with her something I have shared with NO ONE else. Regardless of whether you are religious or not, sex and/or cohabitation complicates things. It is better to base a relationship on love and respect than on sex. I could genuinely say that even if we could never have sex again, I would be by her side until I was six feet under. I wish the youth of today could have this kind of love. They cheat themselves out of such a wonderful thing by investing too much too soon. I wonder how many couples would still be together if their foundations were based on what is important - love and respect.
  3. I've got the best part

    by Christen I did the whole living together before marriage thing and puh-leeze, it's for the birds! I met a guy I thought was great, and we shared a whirlwind relationship that lasted 9 months, or until the little stick turned blue. Once we found out I was pregnant, EVERYTHING changed. He became violent, abusive, jealous, and very controlling. I took out a restraing order after a particularly drama-filled evening, he violated the order and served out the rest of the order in prison. He was released right before I delivered, claiming he was so sorry and wanted to be a family...yada..yada..yada. Once I delivered my son, the other shoe fell. I found out he couldn't possibly have married me, because he was already married. I also found out it was a marriage for his green card..he's not even an american citizen! So now a year later, my son has only seen him a handful of times, he never stays around long enough to file any paperwork, and he's just an all-around deadbeat. But I've got the best part...my son.
  4. Unwanted Girlfriend!

    by Moore I was in a relationship with a lady that moved into my house, we never married and the relationship went bad. I wanted her out, but she would not leave. I called the police to remove her from my home, but she was there more than thirty days, and she had establised residency according to the police, so I couldn't make her leave. So three years later, I finally got her out of the house. So my advice is, you better be aware of who you let move in with you because it may be hard to get them out!
  5. The gay conundrum

    by Molly I moved in with my girlfriend and we kept everything separate. This included everything from checking accounts to even keeping an inventory of who brought what furniture into the relationship. Thankfully it has all worked out and we recently held a "wedding" and are now "married.". The only problem is that since we are gay, the property laws which apply to married couples do not apply to us. In the eyes of the law we are simply roommates. My wife and I have found this gay/gray area to be very troubling. So we are simply keeping the inventory from when we first started living together and adding "shared property" to the list. This shared property is anything we purchase as a "married" couple. I trust my wife, but as of this moment we are keeping all of the bank accounts separate until we have a legally recognized marriage. But after watching Judge Judy so much....we may never take that step.
  6. Shacking up

    by Susan I thought of living together as "shacking up", but it was modern and I wanted to be modern. We'd been having sex and I wanted the emotional intimacy that I believed would result from co-habitation as a couple. It would be financially better than each of us having our own place, too. Of course (I told myself) we would get married after a year or so because we would be so much in love. He agreed to move in together because it would be convenient to have sex available at home. The sex part was convenient. The rest, no. Emotional intimacy did not result. Co-habiting was more expensive than having my own place, because of our different ideas of needs and spending. And worst for me, I believed we were doing wrong. Never never do anything you sincerely believe to be wrong. It will tear you apart inside, and that takes a longer time to heal than a broken heart.
  7. Contracts are a DO

    by Salima C I lived with my ex when I was very young and this was before the height of living together craze. I thought even then it was important not to commingle funds. So much that he asked to borrow $20.00 and I made him sign a promissory note. Extreme.. maybe but it set in motion financial responsibility. I am very careful with giving money to people minus mall cashiers.
  8. I just read the new book & have some insight

    by Kelly Hi Judge Judy, I received your new book AND read it all in one day yesterday. I enjoyed reading your advice in your own words. I'll share my related story. I married my ex-husband sort of rushed after we bought a home together. He was in a child-custody/support agreement with his ex for a HEFTY sum each month for his (2) kids. When he did not make me a priority as promised and let the ex-wife dictate our household ongoing, I had enough and left. He proceeded to guilt me over "walking out on the kids who loved me" to where I felt guilty asking for a dime. I was barely paid a few hundred bucks for all I shelled out towards the re-do of the house. NOW I have learned a lesson, I will not marry my current boyfriend when we move in together later this year (he has NO kids with exes, neither do I) and I will go by your advice and protect myself in writing and suggest my boyfriend do the same "every item will be on paper and notarized" + WILLS to ensure our property goes to each other. Thank you.
  9. 4 year engagment!! 5 year courtship!!

    by Maureen Currently I'm in a 5 year relationship. We have lived together for 4.5 of those years, and the most wonderful of my life. We have separate accounts and pay bills separate; he pays certain bills I pay certain bills. When we go out, we both contribute. When we grocery shop, sometimes he buys; sometimes I buy, or we both contribute. If one of us needs extra and the other has extra, we share and return. I can say the only reason we have not gotten married is because we can't decide on what to do. Neither one of us wants a big wedding. We both would like to use the money for a trip instead (this is a second marriage for both) but family (his mostly) wants us to have a wedding that neither of us can afford. We prefer to pay our bills instead. I'm just hoping if we stay together long enough, they will forget about a big wedding and just be happy that we got married. I cannot Iiagine my life without him. I can confidently say he feels the same about me.
  10. Take Your Blinders Off!

    by Amadeus A couple weeks ago I experienced a serious situation of "Roommates with Benefits". It was supposed to be something beneficial to both of us. Not just financially but, hopefully, on a level that would allow us to get to know each other better. Money eventually became shared, along with meals, rides, and decision-making. These were things we said we would take one step at a time. Boundaries became non-existent! I won't go into a long story. But, when it was all said and done (thank God it was only a couple months), I lost everything I owned, moved 2,000 miles away, and found out who my real friends are. When faced with such a decision...take your blinders off, keep ALL your information private and watch Fatal Attraction!
  11. It Worked... but Most Times it Doesn't

    by Penni I moved in with my boyfriend when I was 21 (He was 30) and it did eventually turn into a marriage...17 yrs and still going... but we made the mistake of combining everything because one or both of us needed each other financially. I AGREE with Judy 100%. We argued constantly about money. Not knowing each other well enough meant that we had different views on everything and things almost always became an argument. Eventually he wised up and realized how smart I am. :-) I think living together is a great idea for the two of you to really see everything you would be getting into in a marriage. But do keep all the finances separate. Work all those details out beforehand and keep a record of it. Really pay attention to the types of decisions your potential mate makes with their finances and ask yourself if this is the person I want to plan my future with. Whatever you do... DO NOT have children out of wedlock. Marriage is hard work. Parenthood is harder. Both are glorious.
  12. Keep it separate, even if married!

    by Lisa I don't care how long you've known someone or how much you love them, one thing for certain is that when it comes to finances, NEVER have anything joint, except maybe a house, and even then, if you have to do that, be absolutely certain that the person you are married to can be trusted with your good name. My credit score was a healthy 780, and then, my husband stopped paying the mortgage, because he'd gotten in over his head with credit. In 3 months time, I watched as my score went from 780, to 650, and then when the bank took the house back after 18 years, down to 580. I will never again trust anyone with my good name or my credit.
  13. Moving in together < Getting married

    by Claugh Firstly, love your show Judge Judy, I agree with your judgement almost 100% of the time. These days, moving in with someone is a far more casual decision than getting married to someone. Would you buy a car without test driving it? My girlfriend and I lived together for two years before we broke up. I'm glad we had that time to figure out that it wasn't going to work. Otherwise we very likely would've ended up with a divorce and custody battles & may have ended up on your show. But instead, our breakup was very civil & we're both better people now... and still friends.
  14. Sad ending but I'm glad we gave it a try.

    by Leah Sadly, my relationship with a man I lived with didn't work out so i moved out. We had just a few arguments about our items and belongings, but nothing too big. I'm glad we lived together first because it showed me we were not a good couple.
  15. Extremely blessed, it worked for us.

    by Deanine I met my boyfriend in 2006 (I was 24, he was 20), and lived with him for three years. I had nothing of my own. He made much more money than me, and since he had credit, his name was on everything. Though he had a huge burden of financial responsibility, if he decided to leave, I would again have nothing. I was in love though and was willing to take a chance. It was fun "playing house" and I felt like I had someone to take care of who took care of me back. We had a baby girl in 2007 and he stayed. Hearing so many stories of seemingly dedicated boyfriends leaving suddenly, makes me all the more thankful that mine stayed. So many women become single mothers. My father actually left my mother. Despite this, I put blinders on to everything around me, believing our relationship would be different. Thankfully, it was. We were married in 2009 and now have a baby boy as well. Though it's hard sometimes, I know now that I'm just blessed to have found such a wonderful man. I just got lucky
  16. Proving it was a gift

    by Beverly My boyfriend and I are big Judge Judy fans, so it came as no surprise to him that when my washer/dryer weren't working so well and he bought me a new set as a gift (getting rid of the set I had) that I asked him to indicate that it was a gift to me on the receipt and give the receipt to me. We will likely do things like this indefinitely so there is never any confusion, but it sure helped that my boyfriend and I watch Judge Judy together.
  17. Keep it separate!

    by Jessica My boyfriend and I are both in our early 30s and live together. We're obviously in no rush to get married and we're not ready to have children yet, so he and I keep all our finances separate and even up at the end of the month with bills. I used to live with a previous boyfriend and we handled things the same way. Toward the end of our relationship he offered to loan me some money to get myself out of debt, and Judy, you'd be so amazed. Nearly four years later and even though I haven't even seen him since 2009 I've been making monthly payments, and almost have paid off the original $10k loan.... with interest. Sometimes I wish we could go on your show just to prove that sometimes people do act like responsible adults in regards to personal loans.
  18. Separate to a degree...

    by Laura I agree that people in relationships that live together should keep finances separate. However, there should be clear communication regarding expectations of spending, money owed for bills, rent, transportation, etc. I moved in with my husband after dating for 4 months. I knew we would get married, but even now, we maintain our own separate bank accounts and credit cards. We have always communicated to each other on how we are spending our own money, and have always split our mutual living expenses. We discussed this arrangement in detail before deciding to move in together. I feel that this step is crucial in this situation. Not only discussing where your money is going to be spent, but more importantly, discussing current debt, assets, and expectations of each other and how things would be divided in the event of separation. If you aren't comfortable discussing these things, then you should NOT move in with each other. They can lead to problems in and outside of the relationship.
  19. Our Unspoken Business

    by David I currently live with another man who I am involved with. We keep our financial businesses that do not involve household expenses "unspoken", meaning, unless it involves or affects the other, it's not of any concern to the other. Sure, we might ask the other "Do you have 20$ on you for take-out?", or "Do you have change for a 10$?", other than that, since we don't really ask about each other's business that does not relate to the household expenses, and we both know each other are not up to any crooked business, then it is really none of his concern where my extra dollars go, nor is it any of my business where his dollars go.
  20. It worked for me...for a while

    by Sylvia Several years after a divorce and after my kids were grown and gone, I moved in with a man I cared for. At first, I paid half of everything. Then, after coming home twice to a cold, dark house where the power had been turned off for non-payment, I changed the deal. I would pay utilities, he would pay the mortgage. Whoever went to the store paid for the groceries. After 10 years I discovered he had not filed taxes in 8 years and the government was after him. Fearing the loss of all my things since our things were pretty much mingled, I moved out. Several months later, he lost his house for non payment and asked me to co-sign for him to rent an apartment. I remembered what Judge Judy says and said no but he could move in with me. He moved in and stayed on a platonic basis for 2 years, then moved out and married someone else.
  21. Some of us don't have a choice!

    by Rheneas Living in a state where marriage isn't an option (yet!), we don't have much of a choice. My first job was at a bank, and I learned early on through others' mistakes how bad an idea joint accounts are, even when you're married! We own our home together, but everything else is separate. We chose to split the bills evenly, even though we have different salaries. The one who handles the money best handles the shared bills. Adult responsibilities come first, and anything else waits unless one or both of us have the money to indulge! If you go into a relationship with reasonable expectations that you can agree on and live with, you can make it work, married or not. If you aren't married, there are other ways to set up legal arrangements for the things that matter most - don't be afraid to use them! WWJS? First and foremost, if you can't respect and trust your partner/spouse, you don't have any business living together in the first place!
  22. Worked for us!!

    by Tracie I am now 46 yrs old, met my husband in 1990 and we moved in after 6 months of dating. We had our first child in 1992 and our second in 1997. We had both been married before and although my husband asked me several times to marry him, I liked our relationship the way it was. Neither of us had an agenda (any type of assistance) or ulterior motive to stay unwed. We were content, and our children had both Mom and Dad in a happy home. We bought a home in 1997, acquired many assets through the years, have joint accounts all without the benefit of marriage. We made wills, POA's, HCP's etc, to ensure we and our children would be protected. Sure, we have had our struggles but chose to work through them even though either of us could have walked away because of no marriage license. Affter 20 years together, we married two years ago with our ttwo children as witnesses! We may certainly be the exception to the "rule" however, I wouldn't have changed anything these past 22 yrs.
  23. When I was growing up!!!

    by Carol When I hear 'roommates with benefits.' I think of my mom and how that didn't happen at all. She would always tell us NEVER give away something that you can never get back. But in those days that kind of thing was never spoken about especially out in public.
  24. Commit 100% or Get Out!

    by Sandra Living with someone without any legal ties, can be a tragedy! I have been married, and I have lived with someone without being married. Getting divorced was no picnic either! The only good thing about getting divorced, is that you have the laws protecting you. In the state I live in, it's divided 50-50. When I lived with someone, it was my home, and although the deal was to have "him" pay for some of the outstanding bills, it rarely happened! He once in a while, would "fix" something around the house, thus makinge me feel like I was getting a real "deal".NOT. I was fortunate in the end, that because it was my home, and he brought nothing to the party, it ended with me having everything I started with. It was basically a free ride for him. I HAD to make my mortgage payments, the house and everything else was in my name. Lesson learned, is; "if you are not good enough for him to committ 100%, then forget about him and the relationship, he doesn't respect you as a woman or partner!
  25. 3 times is not a charm!

    by Melanie I have made the mistake of living with three boyfriends in my 20s. After the third co-habitating experience, I earned my lesson. 1st time-I was 21, he was 24. We had separate accounts and split all bills. We split after 8 months of living together. I was lucky we didn't share finances. 2nd-Both 24, together one year, and moved to New York 10 days after my graduation. It was hard to secure full-time work right away and this added stress on the relationship. We lasted 9 months in New York. We did not share a bank account. 3rd-Lived together 4 years. He ended up being a drunk. We maintained our own accounts but had a joint one for bills. Luckily I trusted my intuition and decided to give myself 6 months to get everything in order before I broke up with him. This included closing the joint account so he couldn't drain it out of spite. I will never live with someone unless I marry them! If I have to deal with a man everyday in my space, it might as well be legal.
  26. Share nothing / Split everything

    by Tracy My (now ex) boyfriend and I lived together. His money was his. My money was mine. The bills were split right down the middle, 50/50. If we had anything left over, it was ours to play with as we saw fit. Save, or spend. It worked out great, and taught him responsibility. As a footnote, I know you're asking if that is the reason he is now my ex. The answer is no. That's another story I may have to share with you one day! :)
  27. Don't be silly about it......

    by James I am a 27 year old man and have lived with someone once. We never had a joint bank account or bought anything that was considered "mutual" property. When we split it was easy to discern what was mine and what wasn't. There were no arguments about money or property division. While living together before marriage is something that's done normally today, I should say that I have no time for people who co-mingle their funds, pets, or any other expenses before they are legally bound through a contract of marriage. Even when a couple is legally bound through marriage, and the relationship ends, division of property can still be messy. To be perfectly blunt, even if I was married I would still have reservations about opening a joint bank account or buying anything that would have to be divided up if the relationship fizzled. Maybe on the 30 anniversary I would consider it.

    by Dawn I have been married and divorced a few times. I have learned that I'm simply cursed in love.  Thirteen years ago, I met a man in Las Vegas, and we decided to move in together. At first, we were going to get married, then something just told me don't do it. After a few years our relationship started getting rocky, and I was going to leave him. But something happened and we agreed to try and work things out. We have both now agreed at our age to stop running from our problems and just try and work things out. After beating him over the head with a frying pan a few times, he finally woke up and grew up. We are now more like roommates than anything, but we are still living under the same roof, sharing the bills etc..We have a good roommate relationship now. He does the cooking, I do the cleaning and laundry. The benefit is, he does what he wants and I do what I want and no strings attached.
  29. Depends on maturity level

    by Michelle At 20 I wasn't quite ready to get married, but I loved my boyfriend very much so we both decided to live together, and we did just that for 7 years before we decided to get married. I am happy to say two children and 14 years later we are still together. I don't regret the decision I made because I have loved and been faithful to the same man for 21 years. It all depends on the maturity level of each individual.
  30. 65 & not complaining...

    by Barbara Yes, 65 years old. Hard to believe time has flown so fast! I have been married twice to one wonderful man and one not-so wonderful (film at 11). To walk down that aisle again at my age is unthinkable, in my opinion. Dating is a real bear, too much baggage with these men and very set in their ways so NO woman could even hope to involve them in her life. I think a room mate situation would be ideal, but my morals do go back to the 60s and against all my beliefs for a roommate with benefits. Perplexed and confused, I keep turning them away after a few dates when their interests go to sex. (And for you young people, YES old people still have it!) For a solution, I have no idea except to be lonely and alone. Not happy with that either, but it keeps me out of trouble with my conscience. Anyone have any solutions for me??
  31. Been There, Done That....Once!

    by Carla I lived with my ex fiancé over 20 years ago. He was lazy, kept getting "hurt" on the job, and never had money. I was going to school and making pretty good money as a waitress. That guy nickeled and dimed me out of my savings. I broke up with him and moved out! That was the last time I would ever support any guy! A few years later another boyfriend, now husband, moved in with me. I Had my medical career and had a good job. I made it clear before we moved in that we split everything down the middle, which we did. I'm so thankful that I learned my lesson. We've been married 13 years now with 2 kids and we are smart with our finances...heck, our car is 12 years old. But we have a great life:)
  32. Two Shelves In The Fridge

    by Jane When I was in my early 20s, the parents of a friend got divorced. The husband married his mistress and within a year was happily living down the street from his ex-wife. One day I went with my friend to visit his father. While dad was out, my friend and I went to the kitchen to grab a soda and found that his fridge had two shelves--one for him and one for his new wife. Turned out that they had separate bedrooms, separate cars, and separate bank accounts. Twenty years on and they still live the same way--but now they loath each other. Every time I see him this man whines about his second wife, her messy shelf in the fridge, and wishes he was still married to my friend's mother. As much as I understand your point of view, Judge Judy, too much of anything is just too much, whether it be protecting your Coke from your wife or failing to marry because of a fear of intimacy.
  33. Near miss.

    by Jane Hi. I went out with a guy for just over one year...not long I know... but he swept me off my feet. He was approaching 50. At the time, I owned my own property and led a professional and independent life. Still do. However, I somehow assumed from his lifestyle that he possessed a secure and financiably viable existence He had a high commanding job in the armed forces. He wined and dined me and after a year or so afterwards he proposed. An officer's wife and life became appealing. However I cut to the chase pretty quickly with him about his credit worthiness! He was evasive. I decided not to continue our relationship. I could smell a rat. He had a county court judgement against him, he was up to his eyeballs in debt, he did not own his own home and he was dodging the tax man. He was a bluffer. I had a lucky escape. Being associated with him in marriage would have meant I would have lost my home to him and his incredulous debts in one fowl swoop of a pen. Be direct...quickly!
  34. I Wanted a Ring; He Wanted a Live-In Girlfriend

    by Rodalba We were fifteen when we first met; we fell hard in love and it lasted until our Senior year in High School. During the end of our Senior year, he was preparing to leave for Arkansas to start his internship as an electrician and I was to attend the local Junior College. I was very excited when he asked me to spend a long weekend with him in the trailer home he was to reside in. He said, "I want to talk about the future;" I thought he wanted to propose marriage, but I was wrong. Instead, he asked if I would move in with him. Well, I was stunned. I wanted a ring and he wanted a live-in girlfriend. This was the start of our break up. It was not easy; we loved each other; so we had a on and off again relationship for three years. Then on our last off-again period of our relationship, I met my present husband of 31 happy years. I am so glad i kept to my morels and values. Thank you mom and dad.
  35. Make sure you know the rules going in!

    by Pam I made the mistake of moving in with "a friend" while trying to get away from a stalker. Yes, the stalker was known to the police and had been arrested at least once, but I was tired of coming home from work and finding him on my couch, eating my food. So I moved in with a "friend", who I thought was a boyfriend. Stupidly I believed his little hints that he would be posing the question "soon" and shared the room with him, paying him rent (by check). Imagine my surprise when I overheard him telling someone on the phone that it was just a "roommates with benefits" deal! I confronted him and moved into the spare bedroom that night, then cooled my jets. I rented a small apartment in a nearby town and moved out a week later - after a huge scene from him! Never never never would I live with anyone again without benefit of marriage!
  36. Judge Judy influenced me!

    by Kelly Years ago, due to a job opportunity, I moved to a different country which happened to be where my idiot boyfriend was from. Of course he wanted me to move in with him & I repeatedly said NO. I've been watching Judy for many years & the things she said as well as the potential reaction from my parents & my own discomfort made me very unwilling to move in with him or any other guy. He told me repeatedly that he didn't see the sense in paying separate rents & buying 2 sets of furniture etc. but every time it came up I said that I wanted to live alone. Turns out it was for the best - after a massive argument one night at MY apartment, he became aggressive, took MY housekeys & held me hostage in MY apartment because I decided to break up with him. He refused to leave. He ransacked my place & ripped out the phone line...basically went berserk for 5 hours! Eventually he fell asleep while still holding my keys, woke up & left without a word. If we were living together, I'd have had nowhere to go!
  37. Joint after the Bells

    by S. W. It was so long ago I have trouble remembering. Highly scandalous back then. We didn't establish a joint account until we married, about 6 months after we got an apartment, jobs. Already knew he was responsible, trustworthy, and loved me. Not many 20 year old boys, would have spent 17 weeks visiting their girlfriend daily in a hospital, reading to her, teasing her about all the tubes, and another 8 months traveling 200 miles each weekend to visit and encourage. Keeper then and keeper 43 years later. We were lucky, having had an experience before marriage that proved commitment, and showed us that when life flattens you, you pull together and brave it out.
  38. Keep it simple and clear

    by CDD Jr. I currently live with my girlfriend. We have been living together for 7 years now. We were both previously married and divorced. We make all household decisions together but keep money separate. If there is a mutual household expense, we share the cost. If there is a personal expense, the individual pays. We both have our own businesses, so we are accustomed to being independent and separate. We have a great relationship because we are clear, realistic and devoted to each other. Vows dont create loyalty and Love, People do! We are whole individuals enjoying mutual great lives!
  39. Living together...

    by Dorothy I lived with my current husband for 16 years before we married. I have been married before, and truthfully I did not trust enough to marry again, but we have been together 37 years now. I think the problem with living together is that when the relationship starts to fall apart, a couple will either get married hoping it will solve the problem or have children, and you're in for some heart break. That only makes thing worse!
  40. Never live with a man

    by Irene I've never lived with a man without benefit of marriage, and I've only done that once. I would never do either again, but we had a son and I had no plans for any more. I put myself through school and made a nice life for myself and my son, but it wasn't easy. My son is in college now. To all young women out there, my advice is this. Make sure that you are independent financially before you marry. The divorce rate is high, marriage is not easy. You need to be able to take care of yourself and your kids if you end up a single mom. And never just live with him. Men like to say "why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?". Women should remember "why buy the bull, when you can get the sh*t for free."
  41. Shacking Up Does Not Equal Marriage!

    by Coco I have read several stories here about shacking up to get to know a person. My experience is that you can live with someone and still not know them. Marriage changes a relationship and not always for the better. You have to be mature and know about compromise for marriage. You can figure that out without living together by simply spending time with that person and their family and friends. Living together only compromises your ability to judge and makes you less desirable. It's like borrowing a pair of shoes for a while then going to the store and paying for them with cash after they are worn out. My experience is love is about commitment and compromise and never about the perfect partner. He or she does not exist.
  42. Joint Nothing Is RIGHT!!!

    by Christine I was 18, living with a boyfriend far from my parents. All was great, we were playing "house", had an apartment with both names on the lease, shared one car but only HIS name on the title of course, joint bank account... All was good for about 1.5 years untill my work schedule changed, and I was working 12-hour night shifts at a nursing home / rehab center. He would drop me off and pick me up. One night, I wasn't feeling too well and caught a ride home from a friend, hoping to find a sympathetic boyfriend ready to care for me at home. Instead, I found him and another woman snuggling all cozy in MY bed!!! I left him that night! Taking only my clothes. The split was UGLY!!! He cleaned out the bank account, threw all my things on the lawn and changed the locks in a matter of one day! I was left with no money no car ! Lesson LEARNED! I am now married, (over 5 years) we keep everything seperate, bank, cars, houses, we live in 1 home and rent the other.
  43. My mother always told me...

    by Stacia She said 'I will never wash a man's dirty laundry unless we are legally married - none of this living together nonsense for me.' I am 64 and this was a big 'no no' in my day. Everyone says you get to know the other person when you live together - NOT. Time and time again I have seen that one or the other party changes when they are legally married. He gets really stingy with the money - she gets lazy and with no children yet, she wants to stay home and not go to work - that it is his job to provide for me! The divorce rate is 50% - so this proves living together first does not necessarily work. I totally agree with Judge Judy that assets should be kept separate if just living together.
  44. One Lucky Lady!

    by Cynthia Yes, I too lived with my boyfriend, but was wise enough to keep all my bank accounts and credit separate. However, I did purchase a house with him, but had him sign a notarized document that stated that if we broke up, I would get the hefty downpayment that I put back first before we sold the house. As it turns out, I was able to obtain a lawyer to make sure everything was done legally, and I was fortunate enough to be able to keep the house. I later refinanced in my own name and have it paid off now! No more playing house...whew!
  45. Stay with your parents

    by John All my life. No hassles, unconditional love. Keep the morals straight and true. No suspicions, no broken hearts, and no drama. If you seek love, go courting, instead of bedding down.
  46. Not for Shackin'

    by Tiffany When my husband and I were just dating, he would have been more than happy to live with me. Because I wanted to eventually get married, I wasn't going to live with him (or any man for that matter). Why would he want to marry me if he already had everything that would come with married life (why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free). His brother has lived with the mother of his children for many years and still hasn't married her. He always says "What's the rush?"
  47. No Room For Error

    by Amber I recently seperated from a year and a half long relationship. We shared an apartment, checking and savings accounts, and pretty much everything else. We were not married. Our relationship became very destructive and we wasted a lot of time and resources in the long run. One time a fight resulted in me leaving and when I left, I took the T.V. and x-box with me and sold them at a pawn shop. He could do nothing about it because it was considered common property. We ended up returning the check for the sale, getting the items back, and continuing our relationship. Similarly, and not too long after, we separated again and I had no way of getting money from our "joint" accounts, that were in his name. Now we are in a whole new harrassment battle, but that is for another time. Will I do that again? Absolutly not and neither should anyone else.
  48. Unemployed boyfriend

    by Tracy I dated this guy for about a year and, of course, we lived together, too. Of course, he wasn't employed, and I was the only one with an income. Naturally, I paid for everything. At first, I didn't mind, but after awhile, it seemed that he pretty much expected me to. It got to the point to where he didn't even ask if I'd buy him something. After awhile, I got to where I didn't like doing it because I couldn't afford it. Eventually, the relationship just fizzled away. As a result of this and some other bad relationships, I have set ground rules for who I date. First of all, he must be employed or have his own income. Secondly, he must not be living with a parent or with anyone else who is supporting him. And, third, he must have his own car or truck (no bicycles). If he meets all three of these requirements, then of course, being trustworthy, drug-free, non-drinking, and companionship, etc. come into play.
  49. The internal war to rewrite the 50/50 concept

    by Vincent Years ago, I moved into the family home of my girlfriend at the time. In the first year of our highly charged romance, she was very giving. In the beginning of the second year, she suggested that I add my name to the morgage, and so off we marched hand and hand to the attorney's office. In speaking with the attorney, I learned that our love nest was severly in arrears, and it would take a large sum of my savings to become an equal partner in saving her home. A commitment that would take some thought, but was viewed by her as reluctance. In the weeks that followed, she began to be very argumentive, and any benefits that I had been accustomed to, began to dwindle at an alarming rate. Needless to say, that was the beginning of the end. We never got to year three, what a pity.
  50. Married -- but still separate

    by Roberta Money is the root of most arguments --- so my husband and I have for many years separated all finances -- if it is joint expense -- we each contribute 50/50. I can spend what is in my account he can spend what is in his --- no more both of us trying to spend the same dollars in a one bank account marriage. Of course, I am on his accounts and he is on mine -- but we both know the funds of the others are not to be touched without permission from the "owner". My huband now saves more than ever -- he was the one always emptying the bank account when we only had the one joint bank account. Separate is always best - even if you are married!
  51. The second time around

    by Christina I rushed into my first marriage, didn't really know enough about each other and everything was joint...DISASTER!! (married for 9 yrs., learned alot). I'm in my second marriage (almost 16 yrs.) and we lived together for 9 months before the marriage, which helped to get to know one another. We have our problems, but not with money or finances. We each have our own money, and we split the bills. He does make more than me, but I know if I need a dollar,who to look to (LOL) I think it's a good idea to live together before the marriage, so you get to know the person...but always, even after the vows...everything seperate!!
  52. Expensive as heck-lesson learned

    by Ann How I wish the Judge had been around 20 years ago! I might have saved thousands of dollars and a ruined credit rating. I allowed my boyfriend (unemployed, mostly, of course) to move in with me and we promptly ran through credit cards and all kinds of money. When I left him the first time and moved back home several states away, I lost everything. I'm ashamed to admit I didn't learn my lesson then, and when he followed me to a different state, I actually got back together with him. Think anything different happened? It got worse-I married him. It was the worst 2 1/2 years of my life, that marriage. I somehow got the gumption to go back to school, and he disappeared, leaving me to pick up the tab for the divorce, naturally. Fortunately, we had no children or property. I take full responsibility for being a sucker, and would even go one farther: once you move in with someone, chances are the motivation for marriage goes way down. Why should he? But, separate everything !
  53. It worked for us.

    by Michael My wife and I moved in together after we got engaged. She was insistent that we not live together before getting engaged and I agreed, so there wasn't any drama about it. About a month after I proposed, she moved in to my place, which I owned. We kept all of our finances separate until we were married. She paid some money each month to help defray some of the household expenses, but I wound up paying the larger share. However, we both wound up saving money because she wasn't paying rent anymore, and I had some help with bills that I didn't have before. So, even if it didn't work out, it was a good financial move. After we got married, we joined all of our finances. It was easy, because we were both big savers and had about the same net worth (although our incomes were different, mostly because I am a few years older). If we ever split up (not likely), we'll just split everything 50/50.
  54. What a Mess!

    by Annie I thought dissolving a marriage was a hassle! So the next time around, my beau and I "just" lived together. The breakup was a MESS! Joint bank account? Couldn't get him off it without his signature and he'd moved to another state! Keys to the apartment? He was still on the lease, so he could still get entry! I couldn't take him off the lease without - you guessed it - his signature! He lived 300+ miles away so imagine my shock to come home and find him sitting on my couch! The electricity was in his name, and he turned it off one day out of the blue. I couldn't move for 3 months because of the lease. He didn't have a job or a pot to... you know the story, the lease was joint, so we were both responsible. But really - they don't go after the one without any money! Divorce stinks, but at least it ends and there is a judge to make a fair (and final) ruling!
  55. Separate Is Best

    by Robin I agree completely with your "Joint nothing; Everything separate!" It makes things easier on all, just don't take it personally. I have had two different scenarios with roommates. First, Ilived with four other girls in a mobile home. Second, I lived with my ex-boyfriend for five years. Each time the topic of $$$ & whose was whose were the main issues. One can start of with the best of intentions & feel for sure that things won't go south, but in all honesty, that just doesn't happen. As time goes on, people change & so do their relationships with others. I am still dealing with my ex-boyfriend because we have a child together, but I am learning even more now that separate is best, again because it is easier on everyone as long as all are on board. Our conversations have become more civil & pleasant because I've learned to keep my business separate from his, so he doesn't have room to talk & the same goes for him.
  56. Gave

    by Chloe After 21 years of marriage, my relationship fell apart when a barrage of real life issues hit & we had finished raising kids. Several years later, I met a wonderful age-appropriate man. He was the best love of my life. He was reluctant to marry again, as he wasn't divorced as long as I was. I wanted commitment especially when living in my home. We broke up our separate households and moved in together. My wise friend reminded me I was giving the milk for free, and he would never marry me. After four years, I got a golf club for my birthday versus an engagement ring..in other words no proposal but got the (titanium bubble)shaft. He told me he wasn't ready. I told him I had choices too and we partially parted ways for few weeks. I was hoping he would miss me...wrong! I clearly told him I wanted him in my life, he responded that he had found someone else and actually married her 90 days later versus my 4 years spent with me! Ladies, don't make it too easy for them, they won't buy the cow. Lesson learned!!
  57. The Never-Ending Ex-Boyfriend...

    by Brooke To make a long story short, I bought a townhouse with my boyfriend and we broke up 5 years later. I left him the house and everything in it. I took my vehicle and moved into an apartment. Four years after the breakup, he took me to small claims court for $10k that he said I owed in property taxes, refinancing fees and a balance on a loan. He won nothing but what a hassle! I can't shake him! No more buying property with anyone, ever!
  58. Learned Lessons

    by Joanne The tales of woe I've witnessed on Judge Judy's show have not gone to waste here. The 'roommates' that come into the courtroom to settle up after a relationship has gone awry is a situation I see repeated but seems rarely learned. I think it speaks volumes of our social skills. I am in my golden years and have roomed with a gentleman. We keep our finances separate. Thing is, if you're younger you have many years to recoup from financial losses. When your our age, the losses could be devastating. To all those with horror stores that gave us breadth, thank you!
  59. Shacking up - joint accounts

    by RICHARD I was young and stupid at the time, and got a joint checking account with my shack-up girlfriend. She thought if there were checks in the checkbook left to be written, any amount could be spent. Until then, I had AAA credit rating. After a bunch of her bounced checks at stores and such, not only was our account overdrawn but there were angry collection agents pounding at the door and ringing the phone. Nightmare. Seperate everything is the way to go. Agree 100%.
  60. Never ever marry

    by Rita I am from England, so our laws are different. I lived with my then boyfriend for 3 years before we married. The marriage lasted 2 years. They were the most miserable 2 years of my life. He came with nothing and contributed nothing to the household. I had 2 children with him in those 5 years together. He left with everything I could give him as it was the only way to get rid of him. I only wanted to keep the roof over my kids' heads. He wanted me and the children to leave. We have been divorced 7 years and still he gives me trouble. If I had not married him the system over here would not force my kids to see him. If they do not see him, then I face quasi-criminal penalties such as community service. He does not help them with homework, will not put a pair of shoes on their feet and if they get any money off his family for Christmas/birthdays they have to buy their own clothes. He does not contribute to their upbringing. There is no justice.
  61. Breaking up and trading up

    by DBAnn I couldn't agree more that cohabitants should keep everything separate! I lived with my ex boyfriend for a year. During that time we had separate everything, from bank accounts all the way down to kitchen gadgets. When he moved out, I wanted to keep the drapes that fit the front bay-window perfectly. I traded with him for the popcorn maker that someone had given to us as a gift. Worked out perfectly and we were both "whole" and happy.
  62. Trying again... but never did I expect I would try

    by Wendy I am 45 years old, born and raised in Anaheim, CA and still live in southern California. I dated and married my high school sweetheart and we were together for over 25 years. We did everything by the book: dated five years, waited for marriage moved in together, had children, etc. We had two sons, a beautiful home, great careers, countless friends... life was grand! At 40 years old, my husband was diagnosed with terminal colorectal cancer and died 3 years later. Me and my two sons had our world turned upside-down. Never in my wildest dreams did I think "trying again" would look like what it is today. Today, I am engaged to a wonderful man who is 19 years younger than I am. When he proposed, he wanted to move in together, have a baby together and of course get married when I was ready. It took a lot for me to accept a new perspective of someone committing to me and my boys without being married. So I am trying again~being open to a different way.
  63. Why?

    by Lisa My husband and I (married 19 years now) did live together for a year while we planned our wedding. Looking back, we realize it wasn't the best thing to do, but by the grace of God it lasted. The reason it worked is because we were ALREADY committed as if we were married. There was no Plan B. I don't understand why anyone would sell themself short and give their all to someone who is not committed to them for life. Either you're committed, or you're not; there's no opting out down the line if XYZ happens.
  64. Never Go Against Your Conscience

    by Esther I was always independent and lived by my own guidelines which I thought were good: do not live with a man outside of marriage; do not mess with girlfriends' boyfriends or husbands (but every other man was fair game); never call a married man at his home. Life was fun and satisfying until I went through the change of life, then things went out the window. I broke the first rule. I moved in with a divorced man, and everything changed. I became suspicious, snoopy, argumentative, unhappy, jealous and guilt-ridden. I didn't like who I had become, in fact, I felt disgust when I looked in the mirror. Needless to say, I didn't stay in that situation. I moved to another state, found a man who loved me and we have been together ever since. That was over thirty years ago. The lesson I learned is, "God gave me a conscience for a reason... don't ignore the warnings it gives. If something doesn't feel right, don't do it."
  65. A parent's nightmare!

    by Dianne I grew up as you: wed, bed, children etc. Our daughter got married, had a son, and her husband died within a few years (illness). Our grandchild was having a difficult time, so we suggested she not date just yet. The "love bug" bit, and she moved in with a man after dating him for a year, grandchild too. After knowing him a total of two years, living with him for one year, they split all the bills and didn't combine anything. Year two, she finds out he's a drug addict, has lost his job, isn't paying the rent, and she's homeless. She got stuck paying the lease out, all the late utiltiy bills and lost all her belongings due to the lock-out. My husband and I know how lucky she is to be rid of this man (by watching your show) so we help her back on her feet. Lesson learned! NO RING NO Hanky-Panky!
  66. You are giving up more than you know.....

    by Sheila I will start by saying, I never would have moved in or made children with a man who wasn't married to me. But that's just me. And if you think the benefits are just in marriage, you may be wrong. I am a 31 year old woman with five little girls who became a widow 5 months ago. It is the all consuming thought every second of my life at this point. Even in death, I am much better off than the women who "played house" with their significant others. I qualify for worker's compensation for both me and my children; unmarried, you do not. I inherit the property of the marriage as his surviving spouse. You cannot imagine the horror stories I've heard from women over the past 5 months who never got married but were clearly the significant person for many years in that man's life. How can you PROVE legally that you deserve to be treated as his spouse if you weren't legally married? There are many more things.....a lot of things to consider! Also, imagine you were to die and HE had to survive....
  67. Marriage First THEN Children

    by Diane In 1994, when I met my husband, he was a 22-year-old widower with a three-year-old son. I was a single, career-oriented, self-sufficient woman of 25 years of age. Due to the fact that he had a young son, we decided to move in together, signed a one-year lease on a 2-bedroom flat with the understanding that if it didn't work, we would both continue to live together until the lease expired. Well, that was 18 years ago. During the first 5 years living together, my then boyfriend wanted to have children. I said "If I am good enough to be the mother of your children, then I must first be good enough to be your wife". We married in 1999 and had another son and a daughter. We are still married. I believe in bringing a child into the world only when you can offer committment and stability in your relationship first. Children are not asked to be born so choose your partners wisely and make sure to raise them in a loving environment, with BOTH parents active in their lives.
  68. If Tragedy Strikes

    by Kathryn I don't have a story, but just want to let you know if tragedy strikes and you're just living together, you are not entitled to anything unless a Will has been done. I work for an estate planning attorney and you won't believe the number of women who call whose partner has passed away. The boyfriend's family moves in and takes away his stuff. She calls hoping for rights, but there are none. Unless a Will was done or she can prove she bought these items, she's not entitled to any of his "stuff". You're also not entitled to Social Security upon his death or any portion of his pension. If there's a wrongful death claim, you get ... that's right, nothing. I know we all hope that nothing tragic will happen, but we can't foresee the future. Living together is all the rage, even my own daughter is doing it, but you need to be aware of the consequences if something bad happens.
  69. Keep it separate!

    by Brandi I'm not against living together before marriage, as I believe that living together is how you figure out if you can REALLY live together. It's through watching your significant other's every day routines and actions that I think you're able to either grow closer or grow apart, all of which I think should be figured out before you go and marry each other. HOWEVER, sharing finances?...not so smart. Until you're married, what's yours is yours and what's theirs is theirs. Let them take care of themselves with their own money and you do the same with yours. Split the bills and keep the rest to yourself. Even when you're married sometimes this is an ideal situation. I've been in a few relationships where I put a lot of things on my credit card and I got stuck with most of it when we split. I'm a bully though so I always got them to pay a good chunk!
  70. I like marriage after all....

    by Dale My first marriage lasted all of three years. I swore I wouldn't marry again but 16 years later, I met my best friend and lover. We lived separately but had pajama parties every night. After four years, we decided to move in together. We started to build a life together and when we saw a lawyer about making wills, we were advised that marriage was the best way to go because of legal battles with our ex's that could occur if he were to become ill or die. I gave him an ultimatum, and he was down on his knee the next day with a ring and a proposal of marriage. Turns out, we really like being married. We like calling each other "wife" and/or "husband". We like the security we feel. It's been 20 years, who would have thought!
  71. Partners for 23 years

    by John S. My partner and I have been together for 23 years and have never combined our finances. Even if we were "allowed" to actually marry, I still wouldn't combine them! I've seen/heard too many problems with joint checking, etc. I think it's the worst mistake to make.
  72. Well if you're acting like it, walking like it...

    by Mel in Love Look, after living with my "husband" for 10 yrs, I realized that I was not benefiting in the future. If he died, I would not get his Social Security and his life insurance & all his belongings would go into probate, and I would have nothing for all the "somethings" I had to give over the course of our relationship! Just marry. That way you have a say in the matter if something came up instead of depending on his or her family to understand your needs after an unexpected event. Period.
  73. Me and My Money

    by Joyce I am an older woman who lived with my now husband for 5 years before we tied the knot. We thought it would be wise to have ground rules. Here are a few. You keep your money, I keep my money, and we both share household expenses. No cheating, even tho we weren't married to each other. We lived in my home. I suggested he set enough aside so that if we failed as a couple, he would have the funds to leave and find a place to rent. We are now married and happily so for 11 years. We still have our own bank accounts, however, after we married, we drew up a will and purchased life insurance. He contributes to our living expenses and any vacations we take, and I see that every little bill is paid, with his knowledge and approval. This has worked for us!
  74. No such thing as a trial run

    by Sandy When my ex-husband and I made the decision to live together before getting married, it was with the idea right from the beginning that this would end in marriage. We lived together for 2 years and we had a very happy home. When we got married the relationship changed almost immediatley and not in a good way. What I learned from this experience is that the only way to know what it is like to be married to someone is to marry them. The thought that the experience of living with someone is an indicator of what a marriage would be like is false. Men treat their wives different than they treat girlfriends or fiances, even when they live with them. Once you put on the ring you may go from being the live in sweetheart to the taken for granted wife.
  75. Cohabitating with Intention of Marriage

    by Terri My husband and I cohabitated together for about 3 yrs before marrying. We both had come out of rough divorces and decided to live together to see if we could put up with each others quirks. People are always different but the question is ,"Can you live with these quirks?" We had no intentions of trying to change one another. During our years together we kept everything separate but each of us contributed to expenses. We found that landlords would not rent to us simply because we weren't married. We both had excellent credit and we had a difficult time finding a nice apartment. We decided to get married, purchased a home together, too. We still have seperate accounts along with a joint one. We have been married for 5 years now and are very happy together!
  76. A Trial Run

    by Denyse When my 20 year old niece (who lives in the UK, the country I am from), told me about the "love of her life", the "man of her dreams", the one she simply could not live without, I found myself smiling inside. Oh the innocence of youth is going to kick her right in the bum if she moves too fast. But instead of berating or judging her for her naivete, I listened. She told me how much fun they always have when they are together, or how in sync they are when he comes over and stays the weekend, I gently pointed out that everyone is on their best behaviour when they are a guest somewhere, and she has yet to see his "real" persona. She thought I was full of it and was adamant about marrying this man. They love to travel, so I proposed a trip, just the two of them. And I would pay for it. No fancy 5 star hotel, rather a ticket to India where they would have 3 weeks to backback. Travel with your potential mate. Life throws some crazy stuff at you. How you handle it together is the key ;)
  77. Lesson to learn the hard way

    by Karen After one year of dating, he told me he couldn't be my boyfriend as he didn't have the time to be attentive as a boyfriend should be. I said ok, opened the door for him to leave. Three months later we got back together and 6 months later we bought a condo together (my idea). From the day we met I told him I would never, ever get rid of my cats just to have a man in my life. Six months after signing a mortgage together he told me, "sorry, I tried, I can't live with cats". Of course I choose my cats; along with making sure we were now "roommates" as he kept telling his kids we were. Eight months after living in the basement of My home, I moved out as he stopped paying the mortgage and forced the condo into foreclosure. He continued to live there for almost a year RENT FREE!  He made good money at his job while I worked 3 (one was my own home-based business). He NEVER did one bit of basic house cleaning. My credit is even worse because of him.
  78. Keep yourself independent until marriage

    by Tanya My husband and I lived together for 18 month before marriage, but shared NOTHING except a home. It was my home, so all bills were in my name and we came up with a contribution every month he would pay. We shared no bills, no cell phone contracts, no bank accounts, NOTHING. His finances were separate from mine. After we came back from our honeymoon, we combined our finances and lives fully, when a legal contract of marriage was in place. Keep it simple people, work on a relationship not creating a life together. The life will come if the relationship is meant to be. Don't be a fool and stay a fiancé or a girlfriend forever, insist on marriage and the legal implications that come with that. Do this before children, combining bills, buying joint property.
  79. Mother and Boyfriend

    by Matthew My mother and her boyfriend (whom I call my stepfather) have been together for 7 and a half years now. They met each other shortly after they were both widowed. Their relationship really is a success, though I don't believe it to be the norm for this sort of arrangement. Both my mother and stepfather were older when they started their relationship; let's just say their 50s. They have yet to get married, but did agree to a domestic partnership which they've had for the past 4 years now. I think part of the reason their relationship works is that they've acquired some wisdom along the way, and know how to communicate with each other. For the couples that stay together without the benefit of marriage and are in their 20s, I can't imagine them having the same kind of wisdom as a couple in their 50s. Not only do they not get along, but oftentimes they just pick a lousy partner. Fortunately, my mother and stepfather are both terrific people who are still much in love.
  80. I think it might help.

    by Beth My husband and I chose to live together pretty early in our relationship. I don't see it as a bad thing. I know we've all had that best friend we decided we wanted to move in with and how being roommates would be so fun. In the end you found out all the things you didn't want to know about your best friend, and now that you live separately you don't talk much, because frankly you got sick of each other. I think it's better to know what you're getting into. To get a sneak peek of the world of co-living before you dive right in. You need to be able to make the decisions about whether you want to pick up after this person for the rest of your life. I believe marriage is forever. I didn't plan on spending just a few years of my life with him, I plan on spending my whole life with him. I do agree with no co-owning anything until marriage. Be aware that gifts are gifts. Just because you gave them something doesn't mean you can take it back when you are no longer together. Not fair or legal.
  81. Intentions when Cohabitating

    by Joy My spouse and I met in high school, dating throughout college. We only moved in less than a year before we got married- after we were engaged. We were both abstinent until marriage and were concerned about cohabitation, but logically it made sense due to financial as well as emotional adjustment. Everything worked out well! I truly believe that the intentions a couple has when becoming roommates affects the relationship long-term. Also, dating less than three years usually is not a secure foundation to build upon as most couples I know either break up or go through major growth at that time of the relationship- including us.
  82. Know your State Laws

    by Jordan My mother-in-law lived with her "boyfriend" for over 15 years. The house, cars and stocks were all in his name. When he decided to leave her for one of her co-workers she found out that there was no common law in her State. She didn't have her own savings and relied on them being together. He did have the good grace to give her her car and some stock but ultimately he didn't have to do even that. She got nothing from the house that was paid for and basically had to start over in her late 50's. Keep things separate and know your State's laws.
  83. Lesson Learned

    by M.E. There is no benefit to living together without being married, if the 'benefit' is just sex. Sex without commitment is demeaning and cheapens the importance of the act. I'm not an old fuddy-duddy, I'm not a conservative or hyper-moral person; living as a married couple without being married is something I have done and lived to regret. Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, my boyfriend cum husband turned out to be a sociopath, but that's another Judge Judy post! I was young, I wanted to be married in a secure relationship and I chose the wrong way to go about it. I don't think there is an up-side to this kind of relationship.
  84. Age has its perks

    by Patricia After my husband died, I hooked up and lived with a man that gave me a lot of life experience. Without that relationship of 20 years, I would be completely dependent on my children. He was not easy to live with and verbally abusive., but I am secure within myself and never let him have any power over me. He was not liked by my family but I stuck in there because I had made a commitment. He died unexpectedly at home with me. We kept everything separate accept for our home and cars. I made sure that we both had right of suvivorship and in the end inherited a home and the means to support that home from him. I am a survivor. With out self-love and confidence, I do not want to think about where I would be. I have seen a lot and done a lot and still have a lot to do and see. So at 68, I am loving my life and everything that goes with it.
  85. To be or not to be....that is not the question

    by Dawn I have been married three times and lived "common-law" once and have loved and lost. Rules are made to be followed but whomever made the rule that two people, same sex or not need to be married should be made to sit and watch my relationship roller coaster. Who knows what's best for two people? The courts or lawyers, they should. They have all won or lost at love themselves. But really, rules are made to be followed to help people and times change, sometimes the laws need to change with the times. Friends with benefits....makes me feel like Im cheating on a diet...either you commit to sticking to it or you get on that roller coaster.
  86. Losing relationship could mean losing everthing

    by Mary My daughter has been living with her fella for close to a decade. She has started her own farm on "his" beautiful, farmland property.  I worry that should the relationship end, she will not only lose her home and her relationship, but also her livelihood. If he should predecease her (he's considerably older), I'm afraid the property along with the gardens will go to his family. I have shared my concerns with her, but realize anything said more than once is "nagging." She believes that their year relationship constitues a "common-law marriage." I am not so sure.
  87. Living Together prior to marriage

    by Mike I'm shocked that I wasn't shocked when my daughter (now 32) moved-in with her boyfriend. I was OK with it. It was 2005 and it seemed normal. We raised our daughter Catholic and she's still Catholic and their two daughters are, too. Despite what I was taught when I was young, I really do think it's OK. Meanwhile, I don't know anyone like this, but what shocks me is how often you'll have couples on your program who moved-in together after knowing each other a few weeks. I doubt that ever works-out. Thanks, Judy!
  88. It just doesn't work.

    by Cory I had a boyfriend for five years. Since we both worked odd hours, we decided that moving in together would allow us to see more of each other; this was not the case. I could bore you with details of petty arguments but they sound to be about the same as what others have shared. I learned from the experience that when you don't have a serious commitment to each other, aka marriage, over time it makes it easier to just give up on the relationship and move on to greener pastures. I've read the argument marriage is just a contract; trust me you need that contract. If you are not ready to commit, stay on your own till you are ready to do so. If you cannot afford to make it on your own, then find a roommate who you get along with and shares similar interests; but please keep it PG!
  89. Happy in Springfield MO...Trudy

    by Trudy I too was living with a man for 11 years, and it had its ups and downs. We married after that and have been together for 27 years now. I have not seen any difference in our relationship. The only thing is our rights have changed legally. I believe in long engagements if there are no children. The reason is you really don't know the other person in 2 or 3 years, and I think you should get to know them before you commit for life because that's what it is life. Nowadays young people don't think that way if you ask me, They have an easy come easy go attitude....Our culture is different then our grandparents.
  90. Tried it both ways

    by Anne My first marriage ended after 3yrs. 9mos. - we had lived together a year before that (he was in the process of divorce from his first wife). My 2nd (and present) husband and I decided we had tried the 'living together' deal and it hadn't worked well for either of us - so we decided we would date/court with no sex before-hand and one year later, we were married. 23 years and 3 grown children later, we are still together and have a solid relationship - he still can make me laugh (which is an important thing we you go through those tough times as we had done).
  91. Gave my ex husband everything but the kids

    by Stacy I was married very young (at 17). By 18, I had two beautiful girls but a very nasty husband who cheated, lied and was abusive. I was never on welfare. I worked my buns off to support my girls. I finally got divorced at 26 and moved far away from him. I gave him a paid off house, two cars everything BUT not the kids. I re-met a High school friend and we have been living together happily for almost 8 years. We are engaged and eventually will get married. We are both only 34 and we have a lifetime to get it done. I watch you Judge Judy everyday ;) and I hear what you say that you should never live together but I am so happy with my life and situation. I think it can work but it takes a certain kind of couple to do it ...I wouldnt change my life for anything.
  92. Mmmm.....

    by Julie I'm over in the UK, however my partner (now ex!) moved into my house (was in my name!). Everything was going fine. Had a bank problem when I changed accounts so was paying the mortgage cash into their account every month so they got it. Was giving ex the cash to pay as my work hours made it difficult to pay myself. 9 months later, he moves out, no prior warning and I get a repossession order on the house as the mortgage hasnt been paid. He's taken the cash. He also signed up for £35000 of loans and credit cards in my name. As I was in the house when these were done (I worked nights so was asleep during the day) then they wouldnt prosecute him for fraud. The house was repossessed, I owe the mortgage company £70000 and Im still paying off the loans and credit cards.
  93. If you can't trust him with your heart...

    by Diane ...don't trust him with your money! I don't understand these comments from people saying they will live together and never get married. If you can't trust each other enough to make a commitment in writing before the state, do you really want to trust this person to have access to your belongings, finances and body? Marriage is the legal way to protect yourself from ruin if the relationship doesn't work out.
  94. Never JOINT

    by Marilyn My now ex-husband talked me into putting him on my checking account while we were still dating. I thankfully escaped that one unharmed when we broke up. Now if only we had stayed broken up I would have been better off. I am thankfully now married to a wonderful man. Before we were married, we became neighbors. We were not living together; he had one side of a duplex and I had the other. The only thing you could consider joint at that point was one single chair that sat between our apartments. It would not have been worth fighting over. I think it is insane that it is accepted that people live together before they are married. My mother and grandmother would have skinned me alive.
  95. Glad I listened to Judy!!

    by Meghan S Before I started dating my husband, I lived with someone else for 5 1/2 years. We NEVER joined any kind of asset. He paid me his share of the bills every month, and we had seperate EVERYTHING. (As an avid Judy watcher, I figured forewarned was forearmed). Nosy friends would ask why we didn't have joint assets and my simple response was "WE AREN'T MARRIED!". When we broke up and he moved out, it was clean and simple. Nothing to seperate. I still had my money and car and anything of value, and he had his. Smartest move I ever made. I got married last year and I have joint assets with my husband, but just in the process of joining assets I was thankful that I had not done it before, because I could see how involved it would be if we ever were to part ways. It may seem old fashioned, but 100% if you aren't married SEPERATE EVERYTHING!!!
  96. Divorced Once Is A Lifetime Lesson

    by JoAnn After a marriage of 13yrs., two children and a nasty custody battle with my significant other, I filed for divorce. I have been single for more than 17yrs. What's wrong with that? I don't feel I need someone to support me, control me or love me. I love myself enough to learn from this. I love the control free, mess-free, stress-free, and peaceful environment that I live. I do not need the aggravation of "common-law" debt. I believe that if we accept who we are, like who we are, understand who we are, we do not need to end up in Judge Judy's courtroom! This is not to say that there is anything wrong with having a partner or such. If you plan to be an item, learn to accept the other and their faults, otherwise, living alone is a wonderful thing! Thank-you Judge Judy for giving us a place to share our stories. You are a talking book of knowledge for me personally.
  97. Not Worth It!!

    by Angela Through a series of unfortunate events, I ended up living with my husband before we got married. It was the worst decision I had ever made. It was I who was the "roommate with benefits." From the start I paid almost 100% of expenses, performed 100% of the housework, and performed 75% of the yard work. I also cooked, washed, dried, folded, and ironed, not to mention held down a job where I worked ten hours per day. Needless to say, I was exhausted by the end of the week. He was supposed to start helping financially when he got out of credit card debt (from his past marriage and family), but that day never arrived. "Romeo" slowly withdrew his affections to the point where he wouldn't even allow me to touch him. Things went downhill from there, and I filed for divorce. He lived for six years without having to pay for living expenses. He still has two jobs, but now I am unemployed and struggling. I know--I picked him. It's my fault, but it will never happen again.
  98. Different times, different generations

    by Bonnee My husband and I didn't live together before marriage, but we now have two daughters and my advice to them is you can try it, but if you don't have a ring on your finger and a date set by the end of a year, get out because he isn't going to commit. Don't intermingle your finances, but go for a "test drive" to see if it will work. OTOH, don't hang on for more than a year for something that may never happen. Sorry, but if he isn't willing to make that leap into marriage after a year, he's obviously just waiting for something (or someone) better to come along and it's time to find someone who _is_ willing to commit.
  99. Playing House in Australia

    by Kylie Hi Judge Judy, I lived in a long term 'de-facto-relationship, that's what we call it here in Australia. It was still frowned upon to live with someone else without being married. My mum used to call it shacking up (I cringe when l think of that term). I much prefer your 'playing house'. It worked well for us. We did, however, have a joint bank account. We shared all our expenses and lived like a married couple, without being married. We had car loans in both our names. We have 3 children together. If l were to ever live with another roommate, or live de-facto, l would probably take your advice and keep everything separate. Less complicated that way! But for now, l enjoy being single and living on my own and with the girls when l have them with me.
  100. Memo Field

    by Keli My husband and I got a divorce after about 10 years of marriage. We had one minor child, and we remained civil for his sake, but we also both moved on into other relationships. Two years later, we both found ourselves single, and began to drift back together. At first we kept it a secret, and then i began sleeping over, eventually staying a week at a time. One day we made it official, decided how we would split the bills, and we moved in together. Every month, he would pay/total all of the bills, and I immediately paid him half, by check, with the month/year/"rent and utilities" in the memo field. He got tired of depositing the check, and waiting for it to clear, and one month he just asked if I could give him cash. I said, "Nope, I watch Judge Judy!" by they way, that was 3 years ago and the system is still working !
  101. 18 years.

    by Erin I have been living with my best friend/boyfriend for 18 years. We have paid off the house/cars and any debt. The reason we are not getting married is because people will think we need to throw a party after, or go on a honeymoon or buy rings, Which all cost money. We would rather use the money to help homeless animals or use for retirement. God knows the story and he knows what we are using the extra money for. I think he is O.K with it. HA!
  102. Judy Judy, you're so right!

    by Kim You're absolutely right, Judge Judy! My ex-boyfriend of one year and I were looking to buy a home together. We would split (50/50) the down payment, and I would help him with a small portion of monthly mortgage and utility bills since he made more than I do. But I have always been hesitant to legally joint anything with a boyfriend who would want to play house but not yet ready to make a lifetime commitment. The relationship was over soon after that. I am glad we didn't legally own a home together or share financial responsibility. I love your show, by the way!!
  103. Marriage test-drive

    by Sarah E. I lived with my boyfriend (now husband of 9 years) for 5 years before we were married and it was the best thing we could have done. We were able to split up the housework from day one and had a very egalitarian relationship well-established before we were married. We still kept most money separate until we were married, but we had a joint checking account set up when we first moved in together where we put equal amounts of money for utilities, rent, and food. This was a first "living in sin" for either of us and we were both extremely honest with each other (a good testing method for marriage). I think it paved a great road for our relationship, especially now that we have a 1 year-old daughter. I'm very lucky to be married to a wonderful man, friend, and father, but I'm also smart enough to know that living together first made our division of labor more equitable. He's also a great cook, so that didn't hurt either!
  104. Keeping it Separate!

    by Ellie I began a relationship with a man while I was still in the throes of a difficult divorce. My lawyer told me to keep our finances separate, which we have, even to the point of 50% reimbursement for a soda. Not only have my friend and I avoided resentments over our 13 year relationship, but my ex knows that the lifetime alimony he sends supports me and not my mate.
  105. Got Lucky

    by Jennifer I've known my husband for almost 20 years now... we've been married for the last 11 1/2 of those years. However, we lived together for about 5 1/2 years together before tying the knot. We've pretty much broken every rule in the book :-p Including this one... we combined everything and were basically living as husband and wife from the very start (the ceremony just kind of made it official). However, I am well aware of just how lucky we got :-p Anecdotal evidence is meaningless... even if you have a friend who has a story about how it worked out for so-and-so, it doesn't discount the fact that 99.9% of the time, it goes the other way. And, something as important as this is not worth gambling with.... especially when the odds are so stacked against you. Be smart... listen to Judy :-)
  106. Learned the Hard Way

    by Anne You're so right, Judge Judy. I lived with my former boyfriend for 13 years. I used to say, "For all intents and purposes, it's a marriage." But I was wrong, because when things started to deteriorate, we did not have the impetus to fight as hard to save the marriage...because we had no marriage to save. Ours wasn't even an atypical story. I was quite slender when we first got together, but the last three years of our relationship, I put on weight, and it greatly affected our intimacy. I'm sure this often happens to couples who have been together a long time. But when you don't have that life commitment that comes along with marriage, it is so much easier to say, well, we're really just friends at this point, so let's just break up. It was tragic. It's been two years since the breakup, and I realize that we should have fought to save the relationship. I get it now. Marriage is not "just a piece of paper." It is a commitment to work through things and not just take the easy way out.
  107. Personal and Professional Experience

    by Lisa As a divorced mother of 3 and a paralegal in a firm that does a great deal of matrimonial law, I agree that many people are living together without being married. I personally will probably never marry again because of the burdens it can put on you, but we all long to share our life with someone special. In my opinion, you simply need to keep your eyes wide open. As silly as it sounds, when you make the decision to move in with someone, make a small informal written agreement that dictates what personal property each person brought to the relationship, what portion of bills each personal is responsible for, who the "family" pets belong to, and so on. It may push away someone who you like, but likely it will be understood by someone who you love and will love you the way you deserve! Good Luck!
  108. Lucky He Wasn't a Jerk

    by Mabel Don't do the living together thing unless the date's been set. I moved in with a boyfriend of one year and we lived together for another three years. Then he decided he didn't love me anymore. So I had to leave. I lost what I considered my home. We had talked about marriage. It took me two years to fully recover; it was like a divorce only without the legal stuff. Thank God he wasn't a creep. He let me stay until I had a place to go and even helped me move. I have a guy now who is really better suited to me. But I don't want to move in unless he pops the question. If I cave, you bet it will be separate everything.
  109. I agree with Judge Judy!

    by Jacqueline When you think you love some one you do stupid stupid things. For the love of God! Do NOT get a place that you couldn't swing by your self. Do NOT EVER get joint checking or savings. I was with some one who did not work. (He did go to school) I took care of all the bills. I paid for his school. I paid almost 3,000 to fix his credit so he could get into the Navy. (he did btw, but never paid me back) Long story short, Over the course of the relationship, he stole cash, objects to pawn, my car, and over drew my account up to 500 dollars a time several times. I don't know exactly what I'm getting at, except to be careful who you pick. Remain independant. Do not join bank accounts, or put your name on anything for them. It's ok. They might think your a jerk, but just know that they were probably going to screw you over any way. Go to school, stay in school, find good work, and be as independant as you can be.
  110. Old Rule Still Works

    by Michael Many people are having kids but worry about the commitment of marriage. Living together is a commitment, getting married is a commitment, having kids is a commitment. Do it in an order that has worked in western society for thousands of years... marriage, living together, having babies. Some call it old school. I call it common sense.
  111. My smart life !!

    by Bonnie I was married at 18 and divorced at 23. Had 2 children, 13 months apart. I am 48 now. I had boyfriends and all of them had to move into my home if they wanted to stay with me. Everything was in my name and everything in the house was mine. Protecting my kids. So when they left or got kicked out, he walked out with just his clothes. If any of them bought me something, I would have them write on paper that it is a gift for me only. May sound cold but I never really trusted anyone. I had 4 boyfriends in 23 years, each lasting at least 5 years or more. Never lost nothing !!!
  112. Longtime roommates with benefits

    by Lili My husband and I shared a residence for 9 years before marriage. We had a joint checking account (GASP!) and I paid all of our bills through that account. Only when we decided to buy a house did I put my foot down and say - "time to make it legal, buddy!" I totally agree with your philosophy of separate everything. Just saying, joint everything worked for me!
  113. Love one another but be savvy with your financial

    by Stephanie Hi, I have short story to tell of financial restraint versus independence. Heading towards my 30's I take much more care of my financial well-being than I ever did before due to a previous negative co-habitating experience. My partner and I decided to rent together but I made it clear to him that I was unabe to afford to pay exactly half of everything due to my low income. His income was considerably more than mine but he deemed my offer of about 1/3rd of all the bills as inadequate. What I should have done was not go ahead with it! During living together I felt as if I had less independence and self worth due to my lower contribution. Obviously when the relationship ended I found it even harder to adjust to just one income again. How things have changed! Currently I'm single but if I ever co-habitate again, I have a small pot of funds put away for a rainy day and I will ensure that all financial decisions are in agreement & fair. Love each other but also look out for yourself too.
  114. Exception to the Moral Rule

    by Heidi I believe in nearly every situation there is an exception to the moral rule. My now husband and I lived with with each other for several years before getting hitched. We were rather mature and had zero interest at bringing a child into the world before we were married and emotionally stable. Not to mention financially stable as well. Far too many young people (age 18-24) move in and think life is bliss and that nothing could come between them and their sweet heart. I am now raising 3 children and think the idea of them moving in and hooking up with some loser is gut wrenching. Basically, it won't happen. I truly blame parents when you see these morons out there with their heads in the clouds and toes in the sand. Maybe we are just raising a privileged generation and someone needs to take them down a notch. Judge Judy is just the gal to do it.
  115. Credit Card

    by Aline I'm not opposed to living together with a significant other of some sort. However, I definitely agree on "joint nothing, separate everything." As long as rent and all bills are equally split, there shouldn't be an issue. I learned this the hard way opening up a credit card with an ex-boyfriend of 2 years. We later broke up, and he committed to paying the entire balance prior to the breakup. Now I find myself getting late notices and having to always remind him to pay the bill and we're not even together anymore! I can't wait until it is all paid off, and my credit score is no longer semi-dependent on his responsibility.
  116. Best Friends with Benefits

    by Geri I'm 32 years old. I've been spending my life with the same man for 8 years (no children). We share all responsibility in regards to finances for our home (rent, water, cable, phone, etc.). I have my own bank account and he has his own account. The house is in my name along with my car because I purchased them. He has his own car and pays his half of the mortgage payment (never been late and even borrowed money from his mother once to pay his share). He's a big boy (and I'm a big girl) and marriage doesn't mean the other person is here to clean up your messes or catch you when you fall. A decent human being that loves and cares about you will respect you in all aspects of a relationship and you don't have to be married to do it. He is my best friend and that comes first before all else in our relationship. We have never strayed from one another because we have mutual respect that came without a marriage license. We share our triumphs and our losses without the mess of sharing finances.
  117. New clothes

    by Becky I made the beginner mistake of living with a guy without the committment of marriage. Just after a few short months, he wasn't as forthcoming with half of the rent as I was. I was carrying the load for both of us. It was when I noticed the new clothes in his closet that I had enough of his selfish ways. I kicked him out and have been happy ever since. I had thought about trying to go to court and getting back what I felt I was owed, but after watching many many episodes of JJ, I realized that I also needed to learn this life lesson. I guarantee it never happened again.
  118. Mine is Mine and His is His

    by Dyan I have been living with a man for 20 years. Mine is Mine and His is His. (everything) If anything happens to him, everything goes to his two boys, except the house, if anything happens to me, everything will go to my daughter and granddaughter. except the house and the two boys will get it. It has worked super all these years and we still are very much in love. He was married for 22 yrs when his wife passed away. I was married 2xs to men that drank all the time. We met and both decided we would wait for awhile to get married and guess what 20 years have passed and we are still waiting. lol
  119. Living Together with a set goal!

    by Berenice I totally agree with Judge Judy, I am a single mother of a 3-year old and engaged to a wonderful man that will become my husband. Why are people together for years and NOT committed to marriage? Like she says... there's a reason why. My fiance and I are totally committed. We already live our lives and run our household as if we are married. We have a shared expense account that has all our "new" income. We have chosen to keep also personal accounts with whatever we had in there before we got together, mine is NOT much, lol, but if we are ever in a bind, he is always very responsible and makes sure that if we need it, he covers the shortages. We got engaged after being together for 9 months, (together for 16 months) and hopefully we will get married before the end of the year. We are keeping it simple and inexpensive and definitely spending only within our mean. We all make mistakes, but it's important to learn from then and avoid repeating them.
  120. Till death do us part....

    by Bob MY wife and i lived together for 2 or so years before we became married. We both decided to do this, not just for the BENEFIT part, but it was really to learn more about each other. I am a clean freak and my wife is 'drop it where she can find a place for it' type person. Yes, we had our challenges, but during those two years, we learned to compromise. I learned not to be a neat freak and she learned not to be so ...sloppy. We both have now been married for 21 years and have two girls. The funny thing is, one takes after me and one takes after my wife, so we are trying to teach them to be in the middle. I think it was a great help to be a roommate and then have benefits, as well as preparing for each others 'issues' . We have a wonderful marriage and great family. I could only recommend couples to live together if they are wanting to get married, but i am not sure living with someone just for benefits would be worth it or the hassle if things did not work out!
  121. Things you might not think about

    by Glee I've been married 35 years to my best friend and I believe marriage is the way to go. But, that's beside the point. Do you wonder what would happen if (heaven forbid) your loved one that you're living with but not married to is in an awful accident? You will have no legal standing to make medical decisions. In the event of the death of your loved one, if he/she has parents or other family, their decisions will trump yours. Hopefully, everyone will agree and get along but don't count on it. You could easily find yourself out of the picture. Think you would "get" anything that belonged to your loved one? Only if he/she stated so in a will. Life happens.
  122. The Solution Is

    by Gloria Married at 21, divorced at 31, single and did not date for 20 years (I was never asked out). I knew what I wanted in the next man and made sure I waited until I found him. I was not ever going to "settle" just to be able to say "I have a man". You women out there - don't settle just for anyone, get an education and please, please do not marry a man who does not respect his parents and who does not have a job. At 52 years old I knew what I wanted, I knew the kind of man that I needed and I knew I would not settle for just anyone.
  123. My story

    by Carmen First, I have to say I love Judge Judy and her wisdom and quick mind! There I said it. My story is confirming what Judge Judy says about "joint nothing, separate everything". After being a single parent for a long time, I married. I'm also an only child, so what I'm going to say didn't seem strange to me. But my exhusband and I paid for all bills 50/50. In each payment envelope were 2 checks evenly split. My friends thought this was odd and some thought funny, but to me it just made sense! Plus I never co-mingled our money either!!! Now I'm divorced; kept the house; paid off the house and am in a better financial situation than I would have ever thought. One more thing; my mother always said to me "Carmen never co-sign for anyone, and don't ever ask me to co-sign for you either!" Lol!
  124. Young Woman with Old-School Ideas

    by Kimberley Anne A few of my friends my age (early to mid 20s) are living with their boyfriends, but I don't think that's for me. I'm liberal about a lot of things, but should I live with a man I'm in a relationship with, I want to be married to him first. Because I would like to be married someday, I feel as if living with my significant other beforehand detracts a bit from what's special about marriage. I feel as if it'd be the same as before we got married; only now, we have a piece of paper from the state acknowledging the union. *shrug* At least, if we weren't living together prior to getting married, the fact we now are cohabiting is something new and exciting thrown in the mix.
  125. The Banker

    by Mike I have been a banker for 20+ years and am always amazed when young couples visit to open no less than three accounts -- his, hers and theirs. They often tell me that "it will be easier" that way when we break up. When you break up? Therein lies the problem... too many young people today look for the easy way out of every bind in which they find themselves. Well kids, mommy and daddy won't always be there. Credit takes a lifetime to build but only weeks to destroy. I wholeheartedly endorse the judge's advice of "joint nothing; separate everything." Thank you.
  126. I lived with my boyfriend for 4 years then married

    by Michele I met my husband in 2003 and moved in after about a year of dating. We both decided we wanted to buy a house and did so two years later. Well, after watching your show and seeing you saying courts do not want to have anything to do with people who shack up and just live together, I thought to myself, she is sooo right! I pretty much walked up to my husband (then boyfriend) and said either we get married or thats it! We have a house, cars, loans etc like a married couple, we need to marry or else. LOL....I am not even kidding when I say that! A couple of days later I was calling and sending out invites for our 2008 wedding! We have been together since and I race to get home to watch your show Judge Judy! You are my ROLE MODEL AND I truly love all your cases and your advice you give on your show! My husband watches with me as well and I must say we are happy and still going strong! Thanks for having a show and I look forward to many more!
  127. Yesterday vs. Today

    by Terry I truly miss the time when marriage "vows" meant something. My parents never would have considered divorce no matter how bad things got...because they were devoted to each other and they were raised in a time when 'your word' or 'wedding vows' actually had meaning. I'm not saying everything was always perfect between them, but still...divorce was never an option for either of them. They lived by the words richer or poorer, sickness and health, good times and bad, love honor and cherish until death did part them. Even the rings meant something...neither of them gave theirs up until they were removed from their dead bodies. Today they need to make some definite changes to the wedding vows. "I, ____, take you, ____, to be my lawful wedded partner, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, in health...but just for now...until 'one' of us decides it's too much headache! Nothing says each party need feel the same way.
  128. Brother-in-law Passes; live-in girlfriend gets hit

    by Patricia My brother-in-law recently passed away. He had been living with, & taking care of his girlfriend for several years. Their living situation was not legally recognized; this girlfriend wanted to sell my brother-in-law's vehicle shortly after he passed. My niece & nephews let the girlfriend know she didn't have any legal right's to sell his car, & they siezed the vehicle the day of his death, & proceeded to claim a "duplicate" title to that car as soon as they obtained the Certified Copy of Death Certificate. As of this date, the vehicle has been secured by my nephew legally. In this case, living together & not being married has caused problems obtaining family heirlooms, & I'm not sure if my niece/nephews will continue to have problems with the live-in girlfriend.
  129. Learned the hard way

    by Jen When I was 18, I moved in with my boyfriend. We shared a joint checking account, joint credit cards and both of our names on the apartment lease. Two years later, we broke up and I moved back in with my parents. I received a call shortly afterwards from a collection agency. My ex had been using our credit cards during the last few months of our living together and not paying the bill. He would intercept the mail so that I was unaware that there was a balance. This was before the internet and electronic accounts! Because I was the primary on the account, they came after me. He has run up the bills to over $10,000. I took him to court and received a judgment but you can't get blood from a stone so I never received a penny from him. I paid back my creditors but vowed to never again share an account with ANYONE. Years later, when I got married, I maintained my own checking and savings accounts and credit cards. I didn't even change my last name! Girls, protect yourselves!!!
  130. It all worked out, due to the advice from my mothe

    by Mary One of the many pieces of advice my mother gave me throughout life was "plan ahead" or as we called it "P.A.". Once I graduated from highschool I moved 2000 miles away from home to live with my "boyfriend" we always kept our money separate and split the bills in half. With the advice of my mother I always had a backup plan (money) and a way to get home if things didn't work out. We eventually got married but kept the finances they same way... Separate! In the end we had a daughter and soon divorced. There was no need for attorneys, just a mediator as we were clear as to what assets belong to whom. I don't know if I just knew that things wouldn't work out or if it was the one piece of advice from my mother that saved me from a "nasty" divorce. So if I can share anything with the couples that I see on your show, I would strongly recommend keeping what's yours in your own name and ALWAYS plan ahead! Thanks JJ for telling it like it is. Wish I could do that at my job. You're the best!
  131. Hindsight is 20/20

    by Megan After my divorce, I met a man that I thought had my best interests at heart. He had just left one job and was looking for another. During that time he moved in with me and I was happy but made the mistake of not discussing the financial arrangement beforehand. Six months later he only had a part time job and would not contribute to any household expenses. His explanation? Since I had my place before we moved in, he was not causing any extra expenses! He bought food he liked to eat and thought that was enough. Didn't he enjoy a warm shower, heat, a dry roof over his head? It was decision time, and I gave him 30 days to come up with some cash to contribute. He actually said I would have to have him evicted because he now had residency!! Yikes!! This was a person with some very bad intentions to take advantage of me. Never again will I let someone move in with me! I'm such a fan of Judge Judy that I cringe to think what she would have said to me if I were before her!
  132. Roommates with Benefits

    by Hillary We have a fantastic arrangement. He owned the house before I moved in, and I moved in with only enough belongings to fit in a car. That way, if I ever had to leave, I could do so quickly at the drop of a hat. He pays all bills, I contribute by buying groceries, cooking, cleaning, and other household related tasks. It's a great partnership, it saves me money while life is easier for him. We give each other privacy which is important to us. Separate everything. No joint anything. Perhaps it will turn into marriage someday, but this is great practice!
  133. Easy Way Out

    by Dale I have been happily married for 27 years, when I was younger I did live with a girlfriend for a while, It was nice but I always felt like there was a lack of commitment on both our parts, from my experience it seems that when you "play house" it is too easy to call it quits or just walk away because there really is no real commitment there. Many times during our married life there were trials and differences in opinion as well as a host of other issues. But because of the promises we made to each other on our wedding day as well as the belief that marriage really is a sacrament (an outward and visible sign of God's grace). there is more at stake here and a tendency to work through all these things and "rough it out" or "work it out" together. When you feel like "flying the coop" or just having a bad day or week together, the realization that there are serious consequences to each other sets in, so you work harder to see it through. I think it is too easy to just walk away otherwise.
  134. A Cautionary Tale

    by Judy F. Well, Judge Judy, you and I are the same age, so yes I left my parents' home in a white dress. My mother even encouraged me to live with my boyfriend instead of marrying him. What an unusual woman for her time. The story, however, does not end there. Ten months into our marriage my husband died unexpectedly and quickly in front of me. Had we not been married I would have had no right to make any decisions, I would have had no legal rights, I would have had no claim to the very tiny life insurance his work place had provided. I would have had to comply with all of his family's wishes. As his family lived across the country even the funeral would have been more stressful for me. Marriage at the very least provides legal protection for a spouse in difficult times such as I experienced.
  135. It Worked For Us

    by Marlen I believe it is different for everyone, but I think in some cases it is a good thing for a couple to live together in order to see if they will work. I loved my first husband dearly, but we did not mesh well together. When my current fiance and I started dating, we knew from the start it was going to be long term. However, we each kept our own houses and just stayed with each other. We purchased a house together after 2 1/2 years and we are finally getting married this year on our 5 year anniversary. By living together, we were able to determine we do mesh well together and we truly have a 50/50 partnership. I was brought up being taught to always be able to take care of myself, regardless of whether there was a man in my life or not and I have raised my children that way as well. I think if a couple is to live together, they need to each understand what is expected of each other and each contribute their share.
  136. Be it man or woman, know how to boil your own wate

    by Marcus Foley I might not have made the mistake of cohabitation, but I have plenty of friends who get swept up in the idea of a life partner. So desperate are these, often poor unfortunate souls that they forget common sense - and start co-mingling their lives to the point where they become so dependent that they can't even boil their own water. After hearing and seeing these horror stories, I can't fathom being one of those people. I am all for love, and I am all for the sharing of a life, but if I have said it once I will say it again - when the party is over, and it will end one day, make sure that when you leave you've got your own pot to relieve yourself, and know how to boil your own water. Because if you're one of those co-dependent types, you're doomed to repeat that same mistake over and over again.
  137. Older Roomies & Bennies..

    by Diane I have enough sense to live on my own, but I know a very nice older woman in her late 60's who lives with an elderly man. He has one leg in the grave and the back leg on a banana peel. He has many issues healthwise. This woman has been his companion for many years, and his health is failing now. HE has a home that he lives in, and I am concerned that when this guy dies, this lady will be out in the street. On her report, he tells her that she can live there forever. Hah! There is a daughter right there, just waiting for the father to expire so she can grab that house. I had the worst marriage in the world, but at least I can get survivor benefits for being a widow. What does this lady get from shacking up with this old guy in lieu of marriage? Time will tell in this case. If this was me, I would tell this guy to show the paperwork that I would have lifetime rights to the home, or I would be getting the Hefty bags out and start packing my goods in preparation to hit the door.
  138. British common law man and wife.

    by Elaine In England we have the common law man and wife rule. If you have lived together more than 2 years, you are classed as married in the eyes of the law. Getting married in the UK is like committing financial suicide. When our laws pay you so so much money for being a single parent it's better to just have a boyfriend. I will say though some men change completely when you marry them and getting a divorce is harder than walking away. With the stigma gone for unmarried parents it's of little benefit getting married in the uk. You still entitled to half the assets. Also weddings cost a fortune. £150 to ring the bells alone in a church and I find out later it's a tape they played. "outrageous " my wonderful judge judy would say.
  139. Joint nothing, unless you're married.

    by Katherine I shared an apartment with a boyfriend in my late teens; you know, the stage of life when you're convinced you have all the answers and your parents are morons. Joint everything only got me into serious financial trouble. When the relationship finally ended, I had no legal protection. He moved out of the apartment and I got stuck with the rent. It was either that or allow my credit to be negatively effected. He didn't care if his was and actually laughed about ruining my life. My credit was in shambles, something that took me well over a decade to fix. Women in particular are hit the hardest when a co-habitation ends. The emotional effects are like a divorce, you have no legal protections, and the financial aspects can take years to get over. If you choose to play house, go right ahead at your own risk, but make sure the rent is something you can afford alone, don't sign any loans, allow access to credit cards, or open any long-term commitments (i.e., a cell phone).
  140. living together vs marriage

    by Denise To me, marriage is prison. I believe that you must be responsible for yourself. I have been on my own since the age of fourteen, at one point I was married for 13 years, it was hell relying on someone else all the time. I have had two long term live in relationships and it has always been 50/50, if you didn't buy it or bring it in with you when you moved in, it wasn't yours. And I have never had someone else on my lease, I'll be damned if I'm going to be homeless. I won't bail out anyone, and I won't lend money. And drive your own car! P.S. Judge Judy I think your a wonderful asset to our Judicial system, thank you.
  141. I know better now!

    by PD My boyfriend and I had only been dating for two months when we decided to move in together. A year and a half later we married and 10 years later we divorced. We didn't have joint anything prior to getting married. I loved my independence and was even returning to school. Somewhere along the way after we were married everything became joint and I lost my own identity. When my husband left me for another woman, I had to start from scratch financially since I never kept anything for myself. I have definitely learned my lesson and will never so willingly give up my independence and financial autonomy again.
  142. Marriage is a financial contract I won't repeat!

    by Susan People get swept up in the romance of 'love honor and cherish’. The marriage contract can’t enforce those sweet notions anyway. What it enforces is joint responsibility for finances, taxes, debts and inheritance. This can turn out very badly, as I found out when my ex went through some emotional problems and ran up bills and taxes that I had to pay when he disappeared. From now on, I’ll make my emotional promises without a legal contract! I can share my life with my boyfriend without becoming legally responsible for his finances. If the relationship ends, I'm not going to bicker with him over a sofa or tv. I'm going to be thankful we don't have to argue about our pensions and savings accounts!
  143. Trying Again

    by Brittney In 2010 I moved to Alaska from Tennessee on a leap of faith... for a guy. We lived together for a year and a half then decided to get married. Six weeks after our nuptials, we were filing for divorce. I said I would never move for a man again. Now, a year after the divorce, I have moved 2 1/2 hours from my hometown to be with my boyfriend. It's fantastic. It has shown me that I can have a functional relationship and still live with my boyfriend. No current plans for marriage though. :)
  144. I am living with my boyfriend...

    by Heather Well let me start off by saying that my name is Heather, and I have been living with my boyfriend for 3 years and we have been together 4 years. I share everything with him and he shares everything with me because we love and adore each other. I see nothing wrong with living with your boyfriend, just as long as you know him and have been together for at least a year, that way, you know what you're getting yourself into. I do not refer to my boyfriend as a roommate and he doesn't refer to me as one. This is our home. I understand that when Judge Judy was growing up, things were different. I'm sure as I get older, the world will be different. My point is, know what you are getting yourself into, be sure you know your significant other, talk about moving in first, and then do it with no regrets. Thank you for reading. I look forward to your next topic.
  145. Old school

    by Kim My husband and I have been married for 32 years and I would have never moved in with him before we got married. I guess I am old school but still young at heart.

    by Heather I feel that you should NEVER, and I mean NEVER combine any assets until marriage. Also, it should only be after a few years, at least of marriage, that you combine everything. I have been married three times (one child, and I have a VERY good relationship with husband #2, his father) and I can honestly say, what I came in with, I leave with! Everything bought together should be split mutually. If there are undecided material items, get a mutual friend to figure out who gets it. But like I said at the beginning, DO NOT COMBINE ANYTHING!! Marriage is the ONLY reason to make things "ours". Not even having a child is an excuse to combine things! Marriage only!
  147. Works for me

    by Monica Me and my fiancé have been together and living together for eight years. It works for us! We both understand that we don't have the full benefits of being married. One day we'll get there. Lots of married couples live as though they are separate. They have separate bank accts ect. So it depends on the couple.
  148. Unlikely Couple

    by Jill I was married for over 20 years, divorcing in 2000. I dated afterward, but was not particularly interested in finding a serious relationship. Then in 2002 I met a man nearly 19 years my junior. We dated for a few weeks before I broke it off, thinking that it was ludicrous at the age of 49 to be serious with a 30 year old. However the "break" lasted only about a month and soon after that, he moved in with me. He has never been married and has no children. (I have an adult daughter). We share all household expenses equally but have not combined any assets. Neither of us is interested in getting married. What we have works for us. Two years ago, my now 91 yr old mother was rapidly losing her battle with macular degeneration and glaucoma. I left my job to move back home to take care of her. My boyfriend chose to come with me and help in her care. If I were younger and wanted more children, then I would insist on being married first. I think to do otherwise would be foolish.
  149. My Thought

    by James Well, I dont have any stories about the topic of Roommates with Benefits, but I think that it is important that there be some type of law to protect roommates. A lot of people room together, whether it is in college or just to share a space to save on rent. Regardless of just friends or a if you are dating, you build a certain relationship. People spend money on certain things, between bills and houehold items. When they do move apart whether on good terms or bad terms, there has to be something to protect them and the things they shared and brought together during their time as roommates. Sometimes people room for a long time or a short time. Isn't that kind of like a marriage?
  150. Good advice.

    by Kirie My now husband and I have been living together for three years (one while married). My advice is definitely separate accounts - get a joint account ONLY for bills, and be sure you both contribute to help pay for said bills. About the modern times versus 'old' times, I have to say modern wins. I thought my husband was perfect before moving in, but some of his quirks bothered me. Not deal breakers (I did marry him!) but more along the lines of 'shape up'- and the same goes for me (I still have problems putting my cups in the sink). But with us living together prior to marriage, we've helped each other grow and mature.
  151. Lay down your rules.

    by Kristen My boyfriend and I have been happily living together for a year and a half now. He wanted to pay all the utilities and only split the rent. I didn't want that and insisted on each of us paying half of everything. As petty as it can seem, I think it keeps us both on equal grounds.
  152. Get a lawyer and hold onto your assets & freedom

    by Sheryl My now husband and I lived together for ten years before we finally got married.We were both married once before and have no children. We have separate accounts that each has total control over and a joint account to pay for mortgage, insurance, household bills, food and vacations together. When I first moved into the house he had just bought, we went to a lawyer and executed a tenants in common agreement. We wrote out how everything would be divided should we separate and had it notarized. Nearly 14 years later I am thankful I did this as I never felt vulnerable even though we were not married. We also did our wills and health care directives so one could make decisions if the other were hospitalized. (super important!) What is key is that both partners contribute equally as much as possible, and are fair and honest!
  153. Get to Know Each Other First

    by Cautious Coloradoan I agree: Separate EVERYTHING! Since couples today seem to be in such a rush to move in together prior to marriage, then they should keep everything separate, as they do not really know one another well enough. They think they do, but after 18 years of marriage, I cannot say I truly know my spouse. Yes, I THINK he will do the right thing; he has never stolen from me, or lied about paying a bill, but live-ins/shacking up is just an easy way out. Notwithstanding, I DID live with my spouse for 4 years prior to marriage and I will never forget the landlady repeatedly yapping that I was selling myself cheap; that I deserved better. I knew she was right as well as I knew both of our parents preferred we be married. We did it anyway however I don’t recommend it. Although it worked out well for both my spouse and me, I most certainly would not advise anyone else to do it. (Prior to just dating my spouse, we knew each other for over 20 years; dated, moved in for 4 years and then married.)
  154. Really?! Just Live Together?

    by Madelyne A friend of mine is about to move in with her boyfriend. She's giving up everything - a big no-no. No talk of marriage, just live together. Maybe I'm jaded because I work in a law firm and have seen things. I just hope I don't have to retain counsel for her like I did when her marriage failed.
  155. Establish the Rules!

    by Carolyn I was in my 50s & divorced for 20 years when I met Mr. Wonderful. After 6 months of dating & him staying over every night, I asked if he wanted to move in. He lived in an apt. & I owned my home. He had a job and paid child support for his 3 children. I had one child (not living at home). The rules were established on day one. He would pay me X dollars a month for rent and if, after three months, one of us was not happy, we would separate without hard feelings. After three months, he asked me to marry him. I said no. He said he would never ask me again & I thanked him. Since he did not have two spare nickels to rub together, I did not want to share my nickels. That was 22 years ago. We have since bought a home together with everything split 50-50. He has his retirement & accounts & I have mine. We both have wills to protect our children, which is our main concern. People seem to fall in love & common sense goes out the window. I could write more but there isn't enough room. Thank you.
  156. Separate is best!

    by Ella I have lived with my fiance for 6 months. We are getting married in one year. We keep everything separate...bank accounts, cell phone contracts, credit cards, etc. We do have a joint checking account separate from our individual primary checking accounts that we both put money into to pay for the mortgage and bills. (I bought the house prior to meeting him so the house mortgage is solely in my name.) So far the arrangement seems to be working out just fine. We have talked about whether or not we want to consolidate after we get married and we both have agreed that we like to keep our finances mostly separate. We both have high paying careers so we don't feel the need to combine them. However, once we are married we have decided to have a joint retirement account that we both feed equal amounts into each month.
  157. Don't Be Dumb!

    by Gina I lived with "Justin" for almost 3 years. He broke up with me and asked me to leave. I did; but we were still in the middle of a lease. In order to begin renting my next apartment, I needed to be free of my prior lease. The prior leasing company asked Justin to sign that he would take over paying 100% of the rent and remove my name and responsibility. He almost didn't do it! He kicked me out but wanted me to still pay 1/2 of his rent! Break-ups don't happen at opportune moments. If you're going to be dumb enough to shack-up, at least have a 2nd bedroom so that you don't risk a possible rental nightmare.
  158. Not always a train wreck...

    by Nat I have been slowly moving in with my boyfriend for the last year. While we accept that there is a chance things might not work we believe being mature about things will avoid trouble. Marriage first is fine for some, i just need to know if we can function being around one another constantly.
  159. Old fashioned

    by Win Dear Judge Judy, I am proud to say that my husband and I have been married for 27 years. We have two beautiful daughters. Our daughters are 18 and 23 years of age, and I am also proud to say that we have raised them with good old fashioned values. While a lot of people out there in today's world might not appreciate that fact... Our girls have always been taught and encouraged to continue their education, and also hold out (so to speak) for the right fellow to come along, and not just move in with someone... We have always encouraged marriage and respecting themselves and that they abstain from sexual relations until marriage... so far so good.!! I as their mother know that it is not a perfect world, and things can happen, but I really feel that our girls have learned strong moral values from childhood that will carry them into very responsible adults... Our oldest has graduated from college this year, and our youngest is off to finish her last two years of college this August.
  160. Thank you Judge for saving my financial future

    by Brandon Roughly a year ago, a friend I was very "close" with wanted to get an apartment and wanted me to be his roommate. I tried to explain to him the responsibility a apartment brings, but he was convinced the two of us could take on the colossal responsibility. He dazzled me with thoughts of the independence, setting our own rules, and just no holds barred, anything goes capers that young adults our age tend to take part in. I was close to accepting the offer, when my inner Judge Judy barked in the recesses of my brain. I want to start my own business one day, and have so much I want to accomplish. She would tell me to think with my head, and I kept in mind his already bad credit history. Most likely I'd be the one paying on the bill, probably putting myself in debt. So I thought as Judy would say "Do I really want to hitch my wagon to his star?" So I declined his offer, and he decided to go it alone. As predicted a year later, he was evicted and taken to court for unpaid rent.
  161. Be extremely wary!

    by John When I was 18 years old, I moved out of my parents house and into a house with my fiance. We lived together for two years before getting married. Besides the fact that we were very young, I think we chose the right path for our relationship! Both of us believe that you should "try before you buy" when it comes to such a huge commitment, because as Judge Judy said, there are no laws protecting people who are living together, but there are also no laws constricting you! If you break up, you have a chance to recover much more easily than from a divorce... However, I also have a friend who was living with her boyfriend and things took a very sour turn, and now she is struggling to get her share of their property because they weren't married!
  162. Communication is a big help

    by Alita I met my boyfriend as a college junior. We were friends for a year and then dated another year before I moved in with him. We don't have joint accounts or anything of the sort but we have set out how bills and such would be divided. So far there have been no problems on how things are divvied up (finances, storage space, decorations, etc). If there is anything that needs to be cleared up we are able to talk freely with each other without fear that one or the other will take it personally. If we didn't talk, I think that a lot of confusion and resentment would build up and the whole situation would just blow up in our faces.
  163. Be Mature!

    by upstateny My husband I lived together for 3 years before marrying him 20 years ago. To this very day we still do not have one joint account together we have seperate checking, savings and investments accounts. I think the key to any successful relationship is to be mature enough to compromise and independent enough to make your own way in life should the unthinkable happen.
  164. Friend of Roommates with Benefits

    by 2leftfeet Many married couples who did not live together tend to be strongly committed to each other. They take what they've done seriously, as they should. They also appear to show more loyalty & respect toward each other vs. couples who just live together. The marriage may not last forever but at least they tried to do it correctly from the start. Interestingly, even after living together, I have married friends who voice doubts about their futures, as couples. Unnerving. Living together does not always guarantee or increase marriage success.
  165. I Wish You Had to Be Married to Live Together!

    by Samantha I moved in with my fiance at the time five years ago. He had all the money; I wasn't working. I got a part-time job that summer and had to give all my money to him. Once the lease was up, I was ready to move back home and end things with him. My best advice is joint nothing like Judge Judy said. If I had done that, I would have been able to afford food, school, clothes, bills and etc. I wish it was like years before where you could only move out of the house in a wedding dress. Then that way people wouldn't have this issue and also America wouldn't have so many teen moms! =)
  166. Something to share

    by Kay We have "lived together" for 34 years this month. We say we have a learner's permit. From the very beginning we have kept everything separate. I've never loaned him money nor has he loaned me money. When we were both working and decided to move in together the arrangement was: he paid the mortgage (because it was his home) and HOA dues. I paid the utilities, groceries and liquor bill. It worked. Now after 34 years we have bought a townhouse together in joint tenancy with both our names on the deed and mortgage. Both our investment accounts are TOD. He has 2 children and I have none. Once a year we have a family sit-down and discuss any changes that they should know about. We have wills, HIPPA forms and health care POA's.
  167. Happily Married

    by Kay My husband and I have been happily married for over 20 years. We started dating as teenagers and dated 6 years prior to us getting married. The one thing my mom asked of me is not to move in with him until we were married. But to tell you the truth that thought never crossed my or my husband's mind. I would not go back an change a thing. A lot of people said we were to young (age 21) to get married but we have so much love and respect for each other. We also have a teenage son and he sees how we love and respect each other. I hope my son has learned from our example.
  168. His & Hers Bank Accounts

    by Lizette My husband and I decided to keep our bank accounts separate from day one. In our 6 years together, we haven't fought about finances. My husband, 30, is an IT professional, and I, 28, am a mental health professional. We are parents to a pre-schooler who wants to be an "expert" when he grows up. The topic of finances comes up at family events or work functions. The typical response is a chuckle. The assumptions are: (1) we are naive due to lack of life experience or (2) we have trouble in paradise because we must be hiding something. Both assumptions are incorrect. Our marriage is based on mutual trust and respect. I trust my husband's judgement and believe he makes sound decisions. I respect his right to privacy and believe he has my best interests at heart. As a result, we have avoided bickering over trivial minutia that fills our daily lives (e.g. getting coffee on the drive to work, winning an ebay auction, buying lunch for a friend, picking up office supplies after work).
  169. Love is blind!

    by Thomas I never really knew what was meant by the expression, "love is blind" until it applied to me. After living together for a few years, my partner and I decided to purchase our apartment. His mother, a woman of means offered to lend us the money and we would pay her back on a monthly basis. Of course, we used her lawyer and I signed on the dotted line. Here's where I could have used: a good pair of glasses. A few years later, my partner and I broke up. This time I got my own lawyer. To my surprise, I discovered he never paid his monthly share of payments. Therefore, not only was I to pay my remaining share of the loan to his mother, but his share as well! It was clearly stated in the documents I signed... but never read. If one person defaults on the payments, the other is responsible. A lesson well learned. Wipe the stardust out of your eyes before signing anything in a domestic relationship!
  170. So far, so good!

    by Rikki My fiance and I are getting married this October. We bought a house together in September 2011. We decided to open a joint account for our household bills while we both kept our seperate accounts on the side. Thank goodness everything is working out so far. Every paycheck we have a designated amount that we both put into our joint account so there's no confusion. I think if you have clear and concise rules, you "should" know what you're working with. I'm not sure if this will work for everyone but it sure works for us!
  171. I Wish I Had!

    by Linda I wish I'd lived for at least a year with my ex-husband, then I would have learned of his complete lack of responsibility with money. He was a nice guy, but he went through a paycheck like Sherman through Georgia. I had some inkling of his poor money management before we married, but it really came home to roost when we married and began sharing a bank account. My advice to women, married AND single: if you learn your partner is a poor money manager, separate your finances, as I did, before your credit is ruined along with his. Not to sound cynical, but it also makes things easier if and when your marriage or love nest breaks up. If I had lived with this man and shared expenses, bills, and so on, I probably would have reconsidered marrying him after watching our resources slowly circling the drain. Money problems were a major part of our divorce; I am now happily single - and financially independent.
  172. It Worked!

    by Mary My husband and I were just talking about this last night and I remarked that although it was against everything Judge Judy (and Suze Orman) would advise, we combined accounts and I had put him on my cell phone account, shortly after we met. Having said that, I had experiences that did not work out as well, and were I to do it all over again, I would be more cautious. My husband and I have been married for over ten years, and together for 13, but it was luck that it all went so smoothly and I would caution against "financial mingling" until you are married.
  173. World's Best Hermit

    by Lizzie Being a person who loves her solitude, I've not had many "roommates". I find that they're nosy, noisy, messy and help themselves to my things, be it food or clothing. I made an exception for my husband. We had dated a bit over 20 years so moved in together in 1999. He instantly became a cleaner dude, from picking up his wet towels to clearing the dishes after meals. Yow! I was impressed. He proposed in 2000, works mostly out of town which is perfect for both of us, and he's the best roomie a girl could ask for.
  174. Stay Married

    by Darlene We have been married 53 years, it was a teenage marriage that worked. I would never tell anyone to get married that young now. If you are going to live together, keep your money separate. Each have your own checking account and work out how much each is responsible for. If you can not trust each other say goodbye. Too many nights out with the guys or girls is asking for trouble.
  175. Never Again!

    by Holly I have had my share of living with someone. I would never do it again. You never know what you will get. The last guy I allowed to move in with me turned out to be a person who drank a lot, lied, cheated, and even stole my items and took them to the Pawn shop. After I found these things out, he had to go immediately. There was no compromise, no negotiations, he just had to go. You have to be careful who you decide to co-habitate with. But, I agree with you that even if you do, there should be separate everything. When the relationship doesn't work, then you each just take your stuff and part ways. No fighting..no having to split anything. Just go.
  176. Trials and More Trials

    by Dave I am working on my fourth marriage. I figured I'd keep trying until I got it right. My first marriage was very traditional. We courted for almost a year, (long distance), and had the full military ceremony. That one lasted six years. The other two were knee jerk reactions. This one is working. I have learned that the woman is always right. "Yes Dear" is my most commonly used phrase. I have never left a marriage with anything but my back pack and rifle. Trust is a very ridiculed and necessary thing in marriage! Some would call one a fool for trusting. I grew up being taught that co-inhabiting out of wedlock was wrong. I married every one I lived with. I wound up with a great lady, my back pack and my rifle. I wouldn't have it any other way. If one co-mingles, he is setting himself up for trouble! Better to give her everything and just use things when you need them. That way, He is not troubled when she takes it all...It was her's anyway.
  177. Tough Decisions

    by Sharon After over a decade of marriage, I was widowed five years ago while in my 30s and at the beginning of the economic recession. Since then, it has been difficult to find a full-time job with benefits so I cobble together part-time and contract work. Unfortunately, my benefits as a military widow have been my only reliable, if modest, income. Staying eligible for affordable medical coverage made possible because of my late husband's service has been the difference between just sustaining & possibly risking poverty or ill health. My boyfriend of 3 years & I now live together. Unable to marry, we've worked out ways to share expenses & responsibilities. We also have been trying to start a family (okay, I know Judy is cringing), but we are responsible people put in a situation where we can provide love & stability to children, even without legal marriage. Not everyone could but experiencing loss in our lives has provided us wisdom, an appreciation of life & desire to live it to the fullest.
  178. Those Were The Days!

    by Gale Prior to my husband and I getting married we found an apartment and moved in two weeks before we were legally married. My mother came to town and refused to stay with us even though we had a spare room because we were not married. She stayed in a hotel until we were married and then came and stayed with us for a few days before we left town. That was 39 years ago, and I laugh when I hear all of the stories today and all the problems. It is better to keep it all separate until everything is settled. If you have to be roomates then a contract is the way to go, so when it doesn't work out no questions or problems are left unanswered. And if you have to get a pet, have the conversation of who keeps in the breakup and include in the contract. Sounds very formal, but it will eventually happen
  179. Internet Date to Marriage

    by Corinne My husband and I met through a dating site - both of us in our fifties and neither having before been married. Less than three months after our first date, we moved in together. However, it was not until we married that ANYTHING was combined: his assets were his, and mine were mine before then. This was understood, but not spelled out contractually. Once we married - six months to the day after we moved in together - we not only combined bank accounts and other financial assets, but changed our wills to spell out the disposition of assets upon death. That's what age (and presumed maturity) does for someone: help one from doing something stupid that results in what is euphemistically called a "misunderstanding."
  180. 40-Year-Marriage

    by Jodi I have been married for 40 years now. My husband and I lived together for almost a year before we married. However we shared the expenses and had separate accounts until after we married. We then got a joint account and have always had one since. We each have a savings account for holidays or special purchases such as gifts. This was quite scandalous in 1971 but worked for us.
  181. Success for me....

    by Pat Hi! First, I HAVE to say that I love Judge Judy! My hubby & I watch ALL the time. Judge Judy, you are the BEST! I have been married 2X's. The first time I didn't share a home with my soon to be husband. In hindsight, I really should have known it wouldn't work. The second time (with my now hubby for the last 32 years) I did share a home with him for about 1 1/2 yrs. My Mom even approved of us living together to try it out before we tied the knot. It gave us time to see if we could get through the tough times. We were living pay check to pay check. We didn't share a checking account, but mostly shared all the expenses and chores. I had dated him for over a year before living together. Of course, if I had seen that he wasn't 'marrying material', I would have kicked him out! My advice is to be very careful & take your time before making the big step of moving in together.
  182. On the Fence

    by Sandy My husband and I have been married now for 10 years. We just had an anniversary. It seems like it has only been a year since we got married. That is how awesome our marriage is. We lived together before we got married for about a year and a half. I always thought like a lot of people because I am a Christian that marriage should come first... Well, he had been married before and didn't want to make a mistake again. We lived together and saw how wonderful we were together and just knew we wanted to get married. I don't see anything wrong with making sure who you are marrying. I mean really seeing.... You never really know who you are marrying until you start living with them. We did not put our funds together, sign a contract. We trusted each other enough to know what was what.
  183. Half of Nothing

    by Terri I lived with a guy that I helped pay half of the bills and helped pay off a home. The problem was nothing in my name, and when he sold the place to move into a new house I got nothing from the sale. I wasn't aware of the sale until one of this relatives told me. I was stunned that he had made the sale without my knowledge and had spent the money on himself. Don't do it!
  184. Be Smart!

    by Morgan I was an old fashioned, smart girl, when it came to men. I paid my own way through college, got a great job and saved money. My credit was perfect. I met a nice man who wanted to live with me, but not marry me. I told him to shove off. I was not going to be anybody's testing ground. I wanted to be married and have children, in that order. I refused to give away any of my power as a self-respecting woman. I also wanted to be a role model to my own children. I made a check list of things my husband must have. They include integrity, responsibility, educated, a moral compass and above all, respects women. I didn't compromise or talk myself into thinking I could change a man. I am now married for 32 years and our daughters are following my path. Ladies! Don't give away your power as a woman! If you demand the best from a man, he will deliver. If not, tell him to move on and out of your life. Bad decisions have bad consequences.
  185. Lost It All

    by Dakota I had a very lovely apartment. I met a nice man, we fell in love and after 2 years I moved into his house. He was insistent. Saying it would save us money and he wanted to show our commitment to each other. I gave in thinking our relationship was never going to end. We didn't have a contract or a discussion about bills. We just paid them as they came up. Most months we split the mortgage. Eventually he lost his business and I had to pay the bills, including vet bills for his dog. Soon we drifted apart. I had to move out with nothing. No savings, just the clothes on my back. I lost the new living room set, bedroom set, washer machine, kitchen table, silverware and cool kitchen utensils I bought. I should have listened to my mother when she said, "move in only when you are married."
  186. Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst

    by Brenda Dear Judy, I completely agree with you about keeping finances separated. I lived with my husband for 5 years before we got married. Being a fan of your show, I insisted that we keep all of the finances separate. His bills were his bills. My bills were my bills. We split the household expenses 50/50. He's lucky he married me! I also saved all of my receipts for everything I bought for the house. I was totally ready in case things didn't work out!
  187. Life Changing!

    by John My significant other and I have been together for 17 years, not married. (Living together for 13 of those). We have 6 kids. and it has worked out fine. Of course we have arguments, but the responsibilities are shared and it is good. We do talk about getting married once in a while. I would never have guessed it would be like this, crazy with the kids and all. High school kids, as well as college kids, need to know how tough it is. We have thought about going to schools and talking to groups of them, just so they know the facts.
  188. Time Limit

    by Vina My now husband and I lived together for three years before marriage, and we kept everything separate. I feel like you should live together before marriage to see what you are getting yourself into, just not for a long time. There should be a Time Limit. Three years was enough for me! You should know by that time if he's the One ...
  189. Roommates with Benefits

    by Jen I watch your show religiously. I know there are currently no laws for people who just live together, but with divorce rates so high, maybe it would be a good idea to have some laws established. I love my husband, and we are committed to make it work but marriage is so hard. I love when people say ... "Well why did you marry him then- you knew how he was"... But you have dreams and hopes and sometimes things are not the way you thought. Maybe there should not be laws for people who just live together but then make it harder for people to get divorced. Marriage now seems to be a joke to some people.
  190. Protection for my Heart

    by Kim After my first marriage ended, I was emotionly scarred. To protect myself, I would live with my romantic interest. It was my home; this way if it went south, I still had a place to live in. This was because when my first husband left, I was left with nothing. I had to give up all my things in my apartment. My now husband, I had lived with for over 4 years. It has worked out great. Since 1995.
  191. Marriage Is Better

    by Don Hi, my story is probably a fairytale one. I met my wife on her birthday in the early 70s. We dated and married about 30 days later. We have been togeather over 41 years now. We do everything together, bowl, golf, camp, vacation. My wife is my life, my best friend, my everything. Sometimes things do work out. p.s. I have a shitzu named Patches 12 ys old and a corgi named Page 7 years old. Love them both.
  192. Common Sense (Judy Style)

    by Lisa I've never lived w/anyone without being married, but if I were ever to try it, I think the ground rules should be clearly stated and agreed upon first. (And IN WRITING! And signed!) Who pays for what, who keeps joint purchases, how to survive a job loss, etc etc. Assuming things will always be rosy is immature and foolish. Enjoy the present, but think ahead! Watch a week or two of Judge Judy's shows--you will get the message!!
  193. It's Just Not Worth It

    by Dee Don't do it! Expectation is everything before marriage. Even in marriage, expectation comes into play. It sounds good, you can 'change him' you can 'show him a better life' on and on... If you KNOW your communication with your Mr. Next is off base, Don't do it! I wound up living in an expensive home, hours from my hometown,  and I wound up Paying for Everything! What? It took me another year to save $ to move back AFTER I ended it! I am now Single, Not dating, living and working where I love and truly, not jumping to get into another one. Next time, the level of the game is raised. And that's on MY part. THANK GOD!!
  194. To Each His Own!

    by Daniela I moved out of my parents home when I was 19. I had a job and my own place to live. Before I got married, I always had my own place, and if I were in a relationship, they never moved into my space. You can share time but not living space until you are married. You should never "play house ".  It's not a game. As long as you have your own door you can shut, you are much happier if the realation ship doesn't work. Young folks don't understand what it means to truly be "on your own" and make it work. Very sad. Love your show. Sincerely, Daniela
  195. Friends with BENEFITS? Fah!

    by Heidi The saying " Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?" comes to mind. My husband and I will be married 24 years this coming July and we never lived together before we were married. Who benefits from living together? The women always do the cooking, the cleaning, the shopping, the laundry...this is a benefit? I will NEVER wash the undershorts of someone I'm not legally obligated to and that is THAT.
  196. Roommates Too Long

    by Debbie My now husband and I lived together for ten years and at that time he said, "I will never get married again." So I left and made a new life for myself....he never let me go and came back months later and proposed and bought me a new home and we have now been together for another 22 years. And we still like each other. And I am your true fan....I pick up the grands after school and as soon as dad gets home, "I have to get home to watch Judge Judy." I also have a schitzu named Leyla.
  197. Co-Habitation

    by Claire I recently moved out of my boyfriend's house. It was easy to part because of how we had set up house. I moved into his house so I signed a contract saying I would pay $300 per month, pay half the gas, electric and housekeeper. It worked out well. I knew my expectations for what I need to contribute and so did he. We both had jobs and kept our money separate. When we went on vacations, we split the cost. We took turns paying for groceries and took turns paying for dinenr when we went out. There were no money issues when I decided to leave. I highly recommend anyone moving in with their partner to spell out the expectations before doing so. Good luck to all.
  198. Look before you leap!

    by Kathy Judge Judy, I am a simple woman. While some of life's issues can be complicated, most can be rectified with common sense. In regards to the topic of living together, look before you leap! I've known women who uprooted their children and sold their homes to move in with a man. Personally I would never, ever, jeopardize my home and the stability of my children for a "trial run" with a man. That's like trading a for sure thing (your home) for a maybe. (Maybe things will work out with the guy and maybe he won't throw you out on the street.) I own my modest home after years of nose to the grindstone. I dated a guy for a long time. It didn't work out. If I had sold my home, moved in with this guy, and then we parted ways, I'd be starting all over again except I'd be older and probably broke. So ladies, think long and hard about what you could be giving up for a maybe. Being open minded about this is one thing. But if your to open minded your brains will fall out!
  199. Roommate Chaos

    by Amanda A friend of mine moved in with her boyfriend, well you know how it goes things didn't exactly work out but they had both paid for the apartment. They couldn't figure out who would get the apartment but her boyfriend had a higher paying job than she did. He was so kind throughout the entire thing and actually told her she could keep it, they were both mature about splitting up the furniture and such when he moved out. I was surprised that two people so young could figure such things out on their own without fighting about it. When I asked him what made him let her have the apartment he said: "My dad raised me to be a gentleman and I know she doesn't make as much as I do, so I decided to do the right thing and let her have it. We cared about each other at some point and just because we aren't together anymore doesn't mean i have to be a Bleep." I was so shocked and amazed that men like that still exist because I've seen people fight tooth and nail about the same thing.
  200. Daughter & Her Boyfriend

    by Lori Our daughter, age 26, had completed college and graduate school and was dating her now-fiance for 5 years. The flood of August/September 2011 forced her to look for an apartment, as she occupied the downstairs of our home, which had been destroyed with flooding. To save on double rent/utilities etc, they decided to share an apartment. We were not thrilled! They followed your suggestion - Joint nothing, Separate everything. Worked out beautifully and they are happily engaged to be married! The "separateness" of all of their accounts etc. helped to keep things real!
  201. Relax and enjoy life

    by Kerry My partner and I have been together 32 years. Our agreement has always been that what we are able to contribute to the “household” monetarily represents the percentage we hold. For many years I had a job with a non-profit organization and only earned a minimum wage. My partner was fortunate to have a high paying job. I was able to contribute 40% and he did 60%. We had a lawyer do the paper work and set up a trust for the nieces and nephews based upon that. And, we both each chose a niece to work together as distributers of our property. Putting it in writing up front and expressing our desires with family has aloud us to relax and enjoy life together.
  202. We married

    by Ninya We lived together for a short time prior to marriage and then decided to marry. I personally wouldn't have lived together but, it was merely for time purposes. Friends with benefits is just an esape to not marry in my opinion! But, as Goldie Hawn has always said, "I won't marry, I want to wake up next to Kurt because I choose to not because I have to!" ???? Ninya
  203. Separate until Marriage

    by Devon My wife and I have been married for 21 months now and our story is the old fashioned type. We are high school sweethearts and dated through high school and into college (total of 6 years). She went away and I stayed local for college. In her last year of Grad School, I proposed. She then moved in with me and we lived together for 3 months before the wedding. This is where I agree with you. We kept EVERYTHING SEPARATE. You just do not know what the road ahead of you holds. What if we had pooled our savings together and called everything ours and one of us backed out of the marriage?? Then what? Who gets what? How do we split the bank account? How do we split our belongings? Everything should remain separate UNTIL both partners have the SAME last name. Then, if something should happen, our legal system will be able to establish who gets what, especially if the parties signed a prenup. Keep these coming your Honor! I enjoy this!

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