Rev. Janice Carter

Wedding Celebrant and Officiant in the Seattle area


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Premarital Discussions

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Before we get married, we feel we know our future spouse so well.  Couples tend to view themselves through the lens of how much they are alike and tend not to look too deeply into how they are different.  Yet after the wedding bells, the marriage begins and we start learning things about our spouses that we didn’t know before.  Or things that we thought were so endearing before we married can start irritating us afterwards.

We think we have talked about things before we get married, but it is very different experience to have an outside person asking the questions and each person having to think about and write the answers to the questions.  Many interesting discoveries – both good and not so good – are made during this process.

As ColourBox.com says: “Why is it that we argue and fight with the ones we love the most? Couples fight over a variety of issues, but commonly over topics such as finances, in-laws, their children, household duties and sex. Expectations about any of these topics can be broken, leading to disappointment and even resentment.”

I have developed a set of 33 questions which cover many different areas – money, children, goals, conflict resolution, careers, religion, leisure time, where to live, and more – to start exploring these areas that are so important when we are sharing and building a life with another person.

The first question in the list is:  Have you taken a premarital class to prepare for marriage? Why or why not?  I think most couples will say that they know each other so well and get along so well that they don’t need it.  Yet, all the couples who have taken one of my premarital discussion courses have discovered things about their partner that they did not know.  Or sometimes, they comment that they knew their partner felt a certain way, but didn’t understand why they felt that way.  It gave them a greater understanding of the other person’s point of view.  The classes give couples a safe environment in which to explore these different areas.

A line from my all-time favorite comedy play, “The Importance of Being Earnest” is spoken by Lady Bracknell.  She declares, “I am not in favor of long engagements.  They give people the opportunity of finding out each other’s character before marriage, which is never advisable.”  This is funny in the play, but in real life, it is the exact opposite of what should happen!  The more we know about our beloved, the better prepared we will be to build a strong and lasting relationship with them!

To help build a more solid foundation for your marriage, I strongly recommend that every couple takes a premarital class.  The new class I developed is short enough that every engaged couple – or couples thinking of becoming engaged – can find time to take it.   It is merely 33 questions, but these questions cover a lot of territory and can lead to some very interesting and enlightening conversations!  You might be surprised about what you find out about your partner – including some wonderful things that he/she may have been too shy to tell you!

To find out more, contact me at jan@SimpliDone.com.


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Domestic Partnerships Turning into Marriages June 30th 2014

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In Washington State, those who are registered as domestic partners will automatically have their partnerships converted into marriages on June 30, 2014.

About 6,200 couples in Washington State will face this automatic change, which was one of the stipulations of the same-sex marriage law that Washington State voters approved in 2012.

The only registered domestic partnerships which will not be affected are the ones where at least one partner is 62 years old.  And the state will continue to let couples with at least one partner over 61 years of age – whether they are gay or straight – form domestic partnerships.

For more information on this issue, read the article from The March 14th issue of The Seattle Times.

http://www.pressdisplay.com/staging/timesonline/viewer.aspx

If you don’t want your relationship turned into a marriage, the only option is to dissolve the partnership before June 30th.


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2014 Wedding Wire Award for Excellence

 

2014 WeddingWire

 

I woke up on January 13, 2014 to an email with the news that I had been selected for the 2014 Couples’ Choice Award from WeddingWire.  This is a great honor!  This prestigious award recognizes the top 5% of wedding professionals nationwide!  This is my second year in a row to receive the WeddingWire award!

Jan Oct 2013

I would like to thank all the wonderful couples that I had the honor to officiate for in 2013 for making this possible.

 


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Protecting Benefits of Same-Sex Couples

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While the United States is in this transition period of recognizing same-sex partners to have the same (equal) rights as heterosexual couples, the legal situation can be very complex, even in states like Washington State where same-sex marriage is legal.

In an article in the Sunday Seattle Times on March 23, 2014, an article advises that same-sex couples, whether they are married or not, have a set of legal documents drawn up to protect them from situations where legal decisions can vary from state to state.

Click on the link below to get the full article.

http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2023163614_gaycouplesfinancesxml.html

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Income Tax Rules for Same-Sex Couples

Income tax season is upon us once again.

Same-sex couples who got married in 2013 in one of the 17 states (including Washington D.C.) that recognized same-sex marriage as of December 31, 2013,  now have the choice of filing as married filing jointly or married filing separately.  It would be good to do your tax return both ways to see which way is best for you.  Don’t be surprised if one of these two filing statuses will result in a larger tax bill than you had when you had to file as singles.  Filing as a single is no longer an option, even if it produces a lower tax bill,  just as the case with heterosexual couples.

If one person’s income is substantially larger than the other’s, filing jointly will usually be the choice which results in a lower tax bill.  Couples where both have high incomes have a good chance of running into a bigger tax bill, called a “marriage penalty”.   In either case, don’t guess – try it both ways to be sure.

The new rules for filing apply to same-sex couples who were married in states where such marriages are lawful, even if they live in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages.  For same-sex couples who live in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages, you must file as single, even if you are in a domestic partnership or civil union.

For same-sex couples who were married in Utah the last several days of  December 2013 after the federal court struck down that state’s ban on same-sex marriage, the couples are treated as married even though an appeal is pending.

If a same-sex couple has been legally married for several years, they could be eligible for refunds going back to 2010.  If  you qualify, you can prepare amended returns for 2010 (before April 15th 2013), 2011, and 2012.  If you would receive a refund, you can file the amended return.  If it does not produce a lower tax bill, then do not file them.

For more details, contact your accountant or the IRS.  This information is taken from a news article from the Seattle Times on February 23, 2014.