Adopt my Girlfriend???

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PapaGeek
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Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by PapaGeek » Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:21 am

We just went to an Estate and Retirement planning seminar last night in Maryland and asked if there was any way to get around the 10% Maryland inheritance tax. The attorney who was there said that the tax is paid unless you give your assets to your spouse, parents, or children. She said there was no way to give the assets tax free to a significant other. The only way we can avoid the tax is for me to adopt my girlfriend, or vice versa, so that my inheritance goes to my child and hers goes to a parent! You have to love the way the legal and tax systems are set up!

barnaclebob
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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by barnaclebob » Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:25 am

Or you could you know get married...

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HueyLD
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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by HueyLD » Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:30 am

You have several choices. You can move to another state, you can start giving her money when you are alive, you can marry her if she is at least 18 years old, or you can adopt her if her parents agree for her to be adopted.

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Raymond
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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by Raymond » Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:31 am

barnaclebob wrote:Or you could you know get married...


We are talking about Maryland, though :P

I kid, I kid!

Is marriage out of the question for some reason?
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campy2010
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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by campy2010 » Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:40 am

Adoption of an adult? I hope the presenter was joking. I would be mad that I wasted my time listening to someone who gave a flip response to what is a serious topic. Ask to Bogleheads the same question or pick up one of the many good books the Bogleheads recommend. I bet you'll get a better answer to your question.

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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by TSR » Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:45 am

campy2010 wrote:Adoption of an adult? I hope the presenter was joking. I would be mad that I wasted my time listening to someone who gave a flip response to what is a serious topic. Ask to Bogleheads the same question or pick up one of the many good books the Bogleheads recommend. I bet you'll get a better answer to your question.


This is likely not a flip response. The LGBTQ community had to resort to this for years before their right to marry was recognized. There are lawyers and financial advisors who specialized in this sort of thing. I'm not saying it's a great option, just that I doubt that it was meant as any sort of joke or crackpot scheme when it likely is the only option for people who don't want or can't want to get married. (FWIW, I'd probably say "Just marry her" in a case such as this, but I don't know OP's motivations.)

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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by PapaGeek » Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:49 am

Raymond wrote:
barnaclebob wrote:Or you could you know get married...


We are talking about Maryland, though :P

I kid, I kid!

Is marriage out of the question for some reason?


She is a widow and gets a pension and paid medical for life from her late husband. On top of that she can retire at 62 on 81% of his SS benefit, Survivor Benefits, then switch to her max benefits at age 70. Marriage is not out of the question, but we would have to be out of our minds to give up that much money.

Remember, we are talking about Maryland, the only state to ever tax the amount of rain that falls on your property!

Sorry campy, this is not just a joke, we are going to investigate it and see if it is possible. The only real problem is what happens when I then crawl in bed with my adopted daughter! LOL!

TSR: we are not part of the LGBTQ community. According to my Citigroup pension, she is my OGDP! Opposite gender domestic partner! Like I said in the first post, you just have to laugh at the way we have to say things and the way the laws are written!

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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by technovelist » Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:57 am

PapaGeek wrote:
Raymond wrote:
barnaclebob wrote:Or you could you know get married...


We are talking about Maryland, though :P

I kid, I kid!

Is marriage out of the question for some reason?


She is a widow and gets a pension and paid medical for life from her late husband. On top of that she can retire at 62 on 81% of his SS benefit, Survivor Benefits, then switch to her max benefits at age 70. Marriage is not out of the question, but we would have to be out of our minds to give up that much money.

Remember, we are talking about Maryland, the only state to ever tax the amount of rain that falls on your property!

Sorry campy, this is not just a joke, we are going to investigate it and see if it is possible. The only real problem is what happens when I then crawl in bed with my adopted daughter! LOL!


I would be extremely careful with this plan, because that may very well be considered incest legally.

Note that I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but see this: http://volokh.com/2012/02/08/if-you-ado ... ow-incest/

And as far as SS is concerned, I believe that remarriage after age 60 does not interfere with a widow's rights to the deceased spouse's benefit. But again you need to check with an expert.
Last edited by technovelist on Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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BanditKing
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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by BanditKing » Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:19 pm

Definitely need to work with a lawyer on this, but legally adopting her is a viable option, assuming you can get a judge to sign off on it. They are far less likely to these days because same-sex couples can marry, but in the past MANY couples used this as a way to address inheritance and other survivorship issues.

A question - can you establish a joint trust and put assets into that? Not sure if there might be gifting restrictions to that, but at first thought that might be a way (I honestly don't know, was just a passing thought).

In the meantime, you could start gifting her up to the max, too.

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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by Watty » Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:48 pm

technovelist wrote:And as far as SS is concerned, I believe that remarriage after age 60 does not interfere with a widow's rights to the deceased spouse's benefit. But again you need to check with an expert.


+1

but do double check on that. If your SS is higher than hers then she might be able to collect that too after you die.

That would also allow you to file joint returns which might result in lower taxes but you would need to check on that since occasionally there is a marriage tax where a joint return is higher than two single returns. If there is a significant difference in your ages it might also reduce your RMDs from an IRA since there is a different table for that. Your car insurance might go down too.

If you have kids or a charity that you would want the money to go to after she dies then you might want to have the money held in some sort of trust to provide for her but then go to your kids or grandkids after she dies. I don't know how that would work with the state inheritance tax.

A huge potential problem with the adoption ploy is what happens if you break up? There is likely no way to "divorce" an adopted person and after you die she could try to dispute any will that you write or cause all sorts of grief if it is a bitter breakup.

It would be good to consult with a lawyer that specializes in Elder Law in your state to find out the best way to handle the situation.
Last edited by Watty on Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Dutch
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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by Dutch » Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:49 pm

I believe that's what Woody Allen did. Or may it was the other way around.

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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by PapaGeek » Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:52 pm

BanditKing wrote:Definitely need to work with a lawyer on this, but legally adopting her is a viable option, assuming you can get a judge to sign off on it. They are far less likely to these days because same-sex couples can marry, but in the past MANY couples used this as a way to address inheritance and other survivorship issues.

A question - can you establish a joint trust and put assets into that? Not sure if there might be gifting restrictions to that, but at first thought that might be a way (I honestly don't know, was just a passing thought).

In the meantime, you could start gifting her up to the max, too.


Yes, we will definitely work with a lawyer on this one!

The problem is not me gifting her of her gifting me, it is which one might die first!

Maryland is a tax hungry state. If everything was in a trust, the survivor would have to pay the taxes on half the trust.

PS: I was not joking on Maryland taxing the amount of rain that fell on your property. Just do a google search on “rain tax”!

rob65
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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by rob65 » Wed Jul 20, 2016 1:10 pm

The earlier post about social security survivor benefits not being affected by remarriage after age 60 was correct:

https://www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors/onyourown2.html

Does her medical coverage get replaced with Medicare once she turns 65? If so, marriage at that point might be an option??

For what it's worth, my county in Georgia also has a fee on our property tax bill for stormwater management that's based on the estimated amount of run-off from your property. :happy

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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by BHUser27 » Wed Jul 20, 2016 1:12 pm

Interesting discussion.
PapaGeek wrote:The only real problem is what happens when I then crawl in bed with my adopted daughter! LOL!

All kidding aside, this *could* be a real problem according to Wikipedia and the letter of Maryland law. 1 to 10yrs jail time for the "forbidden act".
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_regarding_incest_in_the_United_States

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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by Da5id » Wed Jul 20, 2016 1:14 pm

PapaGeek wrote:Maryland is a tax hungry state. If everything was in a trust, the survivor would have to pay the taxes on half the trust.


Obviously money isn't everything when picking where to live, but you could vote with your feet if you dislike the tax policies enough.

I'm guessing the adoption hack has too many issues, but sure, see a lawyer...

island
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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by island » Wed Jul 20, 2016 2:18 pm

PapaGeek wrote:
BanditKing wrote:Definitely need to work with a lawyer on this, but legally adopting her is a viable option, assuming you can get a judge to sign off on it. They are far less likely to these days because same-sex couples can marry, but in the past MANY couples used this as a way to address inheritance and other survivorship issues.

A question - can you establish a joint trust and put assets into that? Not sure if there might be gifting restrictions to that, but at first thought that might be a way (I honestly don't know, was just a passing thought).

In the meantime, you could start gifting her up to the max, too.


Yes, we will definitely work with a lawyer on this one!

The problem is not me gifting her of her gifting me, it is which one might die first!

Maryland is a tax hungry state. If everything was in a trust, the survivor would have to pay the taxes on half the trust.

PS: I was not joking on Maryland taxing the amount of rain that fell on your property. Just do a google search on “rain tax”!


Every state is tax hungry and will get you one way or another. Some just tax heavily before you die or if you don't have a trust and have to go through probate. Come on over to CA! :annoyed

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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by TOJ » Wed Jul 20, 2016 2:25 pm

PapaGeek wrote:
Raymond wrote:
barnaclebob wrote:Or you could you know get married...


We are talking about Maryland, though :P

I kid, I kid!

Is marriage out of the question for some reason?


She is a widow and gets a pension and paid medical for life from her late husband. On top of that she can retire at 62 on 81% of his SS benefit, Survivor Benefits, then switch to her max benefits at age 70. Marriage is not out of the question, but we would have to be out of our minds to give up that much money.


Does MD have any sort of common-law marriage laws? I have heard of similar arrangements where the benefits ended in the case of remarriage, and cohabitation to avoid this was considered fraud. I don't know all the details, but it may be worth looking into.

kithwang
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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by kithwang » Wed Jul 20, 2016 2:31 pm

That's what gay people had to do before they were allowed to marry
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/gay-man-ad ... d=19512067

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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by 22twain » Wed Jul 20, 2016 3:51 pm

PapaGeek wrote:According to my Citigroup pension, she is my OGDP! Opposite gender domestic partner!


So that's the new term for POSSLQ? 8-)

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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by LadyGeek » Wed Jul 20, 2016 4:26 pm

I removed an off-topic post. Please understand that this forum maintains a "family-friendly" environment - things you can say in front of the little ones.

It's not just language, but the subject matter. The comment was a humorous reference on a subject meant for the "over 18" crowd (but otherwise OK).

Let's stay focused to help the OP work through the tax issues.
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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by happyisland » Wed Jul 20, 2016 4:29 pm

rob65 wrote:For what it's worth, my county in Georgia also has a fee on our property tax bill for stormwater management that's based on the estimated amount of run-off from your property. :happy


When you explain it like that it makes pretty good sense, actually!

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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by DaftInvestor » Wed Jul 20, 2016 7:44 pm

PapaGeek wrote:
Raymond wrote:
barnaclebob wrote:Or you could you know get married...


We are talking about Maryland, though :P

I kid, I kid!

Is marriage out of the question for some reason?


She is a widow and gets a pension and paid medical for life from her late husband. On top of that she can retire at 62 on 81% of his SS benefit, Survivor Benefits, then switch to her max benefits at age 70. Marriage is not out of the question, but we would have to be out of our minds to give up that much money.


I'm not sure why you are complaining then. You want her to have both the government entitlement of being a widow and at the same time have an entitlement of being your significant other. Kind of trying to double-dip the government out of money you are.

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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by pennywise » Wed Jul 20, 2016 8:37 pm

Is marriage out of the question for some reason?


She is a widow and gets a pension and paid medical for life from her late husband. On top of that she can retire at 62 on 81% of his SS benefit, Survivor Benefits, then switch to her max benefits at age 70. Marriage is not out of the question, but we would have to be out of our minds to give up that much money.

Like I said in the first post, you just have to laugh at the way we have to say things and the way the laws are written!

Well, what you are really trying to do is continue to get the benefits your partner enjoys because of policies that help widows, while enjoying additional benefits that accrue to widows. In other words you want to double dip with this basically dishonest scheme. Put simply, you and your friend are gaming the system with this idea.

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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by traveler90 » Wed Jul 20, 2016 10:56 pm

You're going to want to talk to a lawyer.

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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by JGoneRiding » Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:32 pm

Maryland land wise is a tiny state unless you live smack in the middle of it why on earth would you not move to any of the near by areas that won't tax so hard? If i remember correctly it isn't like you have children there and you are both retiring soon. What happens in WA DC, DE RI Penn VI etc.

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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by DVMResident » Thu Jul 21, 2016 12:03 am

Not sure if this thread is a joke. Seems like a silly way to avoid a 10% inheritance tax. Is it really that much money?
Cheap, term life insurance to cover the tax liability (plus gross up) is simpler and cheaper than hiring lawyers.

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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by reriodan » Thu Jul 21, 2016 6:55 am

People like you are the reason our roads are so bad.

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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by Smorgasbord » Thu Jul 21, 2016 7:39 am

Jack Spirko's Survival podcast did an episode about something similar that you may find useful, or at least may give you ideas about other things you need to consider: http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/stateless-marriage

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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by Tamarind » Thu Jul 21, 2016 7:49 am

+1 to the point on the history of the LGBT community. Some couples are now having to find ways to unwind adult adoptions so that they can get married.

No one would give you any legal trouble over incest since you are both consenting adults....

But it seems a great deal easier to either move OR establish a living trust.

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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by Runner01 » Thu Jul 21, 2016 8:12 am

PapaGeek wrote:
Raymond wrote:
barnaclebob wrote:Or you could you know get married...


We are talking about Maryland, though :P

I kid, I kid!

Is marriage out of the question for some reason?


She is a widow and gets a pension and paid medical for life from her late husband. On top of that she can retire at 62 on 81% of his SS benefit, Survivor Benefits, then switch to her max benefits at age 70. Marriage is not out of the question, but we would have to be out of our minds to give up that much money.

Remember, we are talking about Maryland, the only state to ever tax the amount of rain that falls on your property!

Sorry campy, this is not just a joke, we are going to investigate it and see if it is possible. The only real problem is what happens when I then crawl in bed with my adopted daughter! LOL!

TSR: we are not part of the LGBTQ community. According to my Citigroup pension, she is my OGDP! Opposite gender domestic partner! Like I said in the first post, you just have to laugh at the way we have to say things and the way the laws are written!



I agree with your assertion from your original post " You have to love the way the legal and tax systems are set up!". Your SO is cohabitating with a new partner and is still receiving benefits designed to protect an independent window/widower from poverty.

Tha Rev
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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by Tha Rev » Thu Jul 21, 2016 9:17 am

Hmmm...adopt a SO for tax avoidance and become the custodial parent or legal guardian strategy (in addition to GLBT community, it also used in later in life adult adoptions and when adults can't function due to a diminished capacity)?

Sounds like life...a bit complicated and may be the tip of an iceberg decision with unintended and unanticipated consequences.

If tax is the focus issue, I wonder beyond the potential legal implications (assuming SO is not a minor which would make it even more challenging) if you compared tax savings if married and the impact on social security benefits?

Also assuming you will never ever move from the and retire to a retiree tax friendly state (http://www.kiplinger.com/tool/retiremen ... /index.php) and you may someday have children (by a variety of means: adoption, guardianship, biological) how would you and SO explain the relationship to the children of your relationship and how would they be treated under the law and taxation policies?

This question you ask is a crossover between many moving parts of the taxation and legal systems (maybe a boglehead-like forum is needed for legal?).

I agree with posters who say you will need to spend time and money to sort it out with some experts if you think it is really going to save you significant money and give you peace of mind. Be sure whatever you decide will fly in other another state you may move too.

Say you are successful with your strategy and it catches on with others...would not a tax hungry entity find a way to tax adoptions too (like the rain tax which is an anti-pollution strategy) at a later date by changing the law?

Last thing you may want to consider is how the SO and your families may view and respond to the situation or status change if openly known...and if kept a secret it has been my experience all family secrets slip out sooner or later for a variety of reasons.

I hope the collective wisdom here serves you, your SO and families well.

In CommUnity...Tha Rev

P.S. I assume all posters send a legit question and best knowledge until proven otherwise.

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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by furwut » Thu Jul 21, 2016 9:41 am

PapaGeek wrote:
Remember, we are talking about Maryland, the only state to ever tax the amount of rain that falls on your property!


FYI more on the Maryland "Rain" Tax
According to Wikipedia:

A stormwater management fee was established via House Bill 987 (April 2012) and signed into law by then-governor Martin O'Malley, affecting the largest urban jurisdictions in Maryland (nine counties and the City of Baltimore) in order to meet the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act as it concerns the Chesapeake Bay watershed.


This tax, of course, does not tax rain but has been implemented in varying ways at the county level, such as a flat fee per property owner, or based on impervious surface square footage.

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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by bsteiner » Thu Jul 21, 2016 9:50 am

caticind wrote:... it seems a great deal easier to either move OR establish a living trust.


What does a living trust have to do with the Maryland inheritance tax (or anything else in this thread)?

dickyboy
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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by dickyboy » Thu Jul 21, 2016 10:00 am

Why are you trying to "milk" the system ? It is no wonder that SS is going broke.

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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by Riverstwo » Thu Jul 21, 2016 11:03 am

If you lived by the waters of the Chesapeake Bay you would know why Maryland has a Rain Tax. Because everyone who moves from the big cities, builds a house, cuts down all the trees and then paves their driveways - - and the runoff into the water is a major source of pollution. Use river rock type pebbles for drainage and you could avoid that problem!

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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by Engineer250 » Thu Jul 21, 2016 11:57 am

Runner01 wrote:I agree with your assertion from your original post " You have to love the way the legal and tax systems are set up!". Your SO is cohabitating with a new partner and is still receiving benefits designed to protect an independent window/widower from poverty.


This is so intriguing. I wonder if the attitude of the OP would carry over to others using the system in similar ways. Before welfare reform in the early 1990s, they used to audit the single moms receiving welfare in order to confirm they weren't cohabitating with a man. If they were cohabitating with a man who was employed or was considered employable they generally saw the end to their welfare benefits. This could mean the guy lived with them, or just that they were in fact sleeping with the guy occasionally would mean the end of the benefits.

Cash welfare benefits are much reduced since those days so I don't know if they "fixed" it so much as just reduced the number of people getting direct cash assistance.

I agree OP should leave the state if they don't like the taxes. I live in the great, highly taxed state of California. I get kind of tired of people complaining about our exorbitant tax rates. I suggest these people put more effort towards moving, and less effort towards complaining. Looks like the Maryland estate tax applies to estates worth more than $2M. I realize that's probably a lot of people's retirement savings, but it's still a #firstworldproblem.
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Kosmo
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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by Kosmo » Thu Jul 21, 2016 1:00 pm

Would you be allowed to adopt her if there clearly is no father/daughter type relationship? I think a judge would see right past your scheme.

Earlier this year my wife was adopted by her mother's husband (her biological father passed away a while back). We had to state our case before a judge for the adoption to be granted.

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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by SQRT » Thu Jul 21, 2016 2:39 pm

I'm a adoptive parent and accordingly find this discussion of adult "Adoption" distasteful. Talk about perverting a noble concept.

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Re: Adopt my Girlfriend???

Post by LadyGeek » Thu Jul 21, 2016 3:58 pm

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