Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Save A Ton Of Money Getting Married At The Courthouse

Never in a million years did I think a County's Assesor/Recorder/County Clerk office would become a pivotal destination in my life.  It wasn't until my thirties that I even needed to look for one.  But one in particular has done just that, entered my mind as a place I hold dear to my heart.  Really, I'm not kidding.

The San Marcos, CA San Diego ARCC Branch Office, situated at 141 E. Carmel Street does indeed have charm.  It's a two-tone modern looking building with plenty of glass.  The landscaping is appropriate for our region with some drought tolerant flora.  On any given day (though there are probably certain scheduled days of the week) you may find a woman in full bridal attire in the parking lot, looking nervous yet beautiful as she makes her way to the front door.  Her handsome, husband-to-be, at her side.  Street View Google Maps if you want to get a look.

My First Visit

It's been seven years since my first visit to the San Marcos ARCC branch office.  I was in a serious funk back then, stressed by work as a second year high school Assistant Principal, compounded by my having to commute fifty-five minutes each way to the city of Lake Elsinore.  I was also at the tail end of an amicable divorce.  Divorces can be nasty.  I was lucky.  My first marriage ended after three years without any fighting and without any children to worry about.

Enough reminiscing.  Why was I at the SM ARCC branch office for the first time in 2007?  I was there to file a Quitclaim Deed.  I have taken the liberty of copying the part of an online quitclaim deed definition pertaining to a divorce:

Another common use for a quitclaim deed is in divorce, whereby one spouse terminates any interest in the jointly owned marital home, thereby granting the receiving spouse full rights to the property. For example, when a husband acquires the marital home in a divorce settlement, the wife could execute a quitclaim deed eliminating her interest in the property and transferring full claim to the husband quickly and inexpensively.[5] The ease at which the quit claim deed can be executed is partly to blame for the "quick claim" misnomer associated with the deed.[6]  Source: Wikipedia      

Like I said, my divorce was for the best so I did not have to go to court.  Why did my ex-wife give up her claim to our jointly owned home?  The house was upside down with an underwater mortgage, of course!  She was leaving the area and I was staying.  So it made sense for me to have full claim.  Many of you are thinking right now, Yes, Carlos, she gave up claim to your jointly owned home but that doesn't mean she is off the hook when it comes to the mortgage/note.  You are correct!  She wasn't out of the woods yet, so to speak.  We had to request GMAC to allow me to be the only person assigned to the mortgage.

Now I want you to start thinking again.  Why would a lender want to help a couple with two incomes rid one couple from a mortgage note they own?  Does this make any sense?  Of course not.  There's a greater risk of default with just one person handling the monthly payments.  Timing was everything.  I was most fortunate.  You see, I'd just received a pay raise at work.  I was netting over $6K a month, almost $1K more than when we first applied for the mortgage, a 30-year, fixed interest rate loan.  The process involved refinancing.  Once again, I have taken the liberty of copying for you a segment that explains this process better than I can:

10. People Listed on the Refinanced Mortgage
Generally, if you’re trying to add or remove someone from a mortgage, such as after a marriage or divorce, the lender will require you to refinance. This is done to determine whether or not the other person will qualify, or if you will qualify alone.
However, you may be able to work something out with the mortgage lender in order to accomplish your goal without going through a full refinance. This is especially true if the person who will have been on both mortgages can qualify for the mortgage by themselves.  Source:

In our case, we were able to "work something out..." and did not need a full refinance.  They simply asked us for money, and to sign off on some paperwork.  The price we were quoted to complete the process was a little over $3K if I recall.  But I wasn't going to pay a penny of it.  Please don't judge me for being mean to my ex-wife.  I wasn't forcing her out.  She didn't want any liability to her good credit in the event the payments would stop being made by her soon to be ex-husband.  She also didn't have any interest in the home after the quitclaim deed was filed.  $3K was a small sum to pay to get out completely unscathed from an underwater mortgage.  Why did I agree to all of this insanity?  That's another interesting story.  You'll have to buy my ebook.  By the way, I still live in the same home with my new wife!  She's next.

Second Visit

The year is 2010 and I am rolling back at full speed.  I'd met a hot babe the year before at the La Jolla Marriott one Saturday evening while Salsa dancing.  After several months of dating, and a successful engagement proposal (which by the way took place at the same place we met), she agreed to move in with me.  Her name is Jessica in case you're joining my reader base for the first time today.  And like me, she too had gone through a divorce and had no children from her first marriage.  She loved (and still loves) to dance to Latin music.  Best part however, was that she was so open-minded.  She also had an entrepreneurial spirit about her.  Not to mention, she understood money.  During our engagement I had several tenants living in my home, renting individual rooms.  Jessica didn't mind.  In fact, she thought it smart to pay down a mortgage with other people's money provided there were no children in the home.

Back to my second visit to the SM ARCC branch office.  I'm sure you have inferred by now that this branch office is where Jessica and I got married.  You are correct again!  We saved a ton of money, not marrying conventionally as we both had with our first marriages.  For people out there who are considering getting married, you may want to rethink your options and include the local courthouse as one of your choices for a locale.  It's actually not bad.  We made the best of it.  We dressed up as if we were going to a traditional church ceremony, had our photographer accompany us, and then headed to a restaurant to meet our friends and guests.  Here is a picture of us at the courthouse.  Notice the man in the background, waiting to file some papers, hahaha!  Another benefit of not paying so much for a ceremony...more money for the honeymoon!  We went on all inclusive trip to Belize, staying at the reputable and gorgeous Chaa Creek Lodge.

Enjoying libations at the Chaa Creek Lodge

Mayan fun!

Third Visit

My third visit to the SM ARCC branch office took place very recently.  On October 13, 2014, I took the first of a series of steps toward the official and legal launch of my company, Common Core Money: Content & Brand Education.  In the near future, I will write another post about all of the steps I've taken thus far to get my business up and running.  For now, I'll focus on sticking to the theme on how the SM ARCC branch office has been a great place for me.  This third visit was exciting.  Starting a business is a huge rush.  And I had to contain myself while I waited to be seen by a clerk.  I pulled a number from the front desk as instructed by the receptionist.  Lucky number 47.  "Now Serving:" number 44.  Hearing my number finally called out by the next available clerk reminded me of a GEICO commercial, and I dang near did the Ickey Shuffle in celebration!

Filing a Fictitious Business Name Statement with your county ARCC office is like coming out to the world and celebrating your existence.  Wouldn't you rather have a unique name, one that others can't use and associate with your wonderful business?  Duh!  So although it sounds weird, the word, "fictitious," that is, it is really about ensuring some legal protection for you and your nascent business.  Here is a blurb you may find interesting about the "Purpose of Filing a Fictitious Business Name Statement:"

Beyond protecting your right to use your business name, legally announcing your intention to use an assumed name makes naming businesses simpler for everyone. Image if states did not have a database of known business names. Several businesses could operate under the same name, by accident or intentionally. Also, when you file out a fictitious business name statement, you list your contact information -- making it easy for customers to address complaints.
Not filing for a fictitious business name could hurt your business in the future by constricting your ability to expand your services and products. If you start in a niche market, such as breakfast food with the name "Betty's Breakfast Cafe," you would need to rebuild your brand name image if you want to branch out in to pizza. Credit

One other note, you will need proof of having filed a FBNS in order to open up a business bank account.  So when you go to your local bank to open up your new business account, be sure to take this legal and stamped document with you.  See mine below:

You can see that I registered my business with name, a) Common Core Money, and b)  You are provided with a second sheet where you can list as many name derivations as you like so others cannot register a name resembling yours.  Every name you register (in SD county) will cost you an additional $5.  The base cost for this service was $42.  Don't go crazy!  Two to three name variants will suffice in most cases.  Let's consider one where you could go wild.  Say, Charles Burgers.  You can register the following additional names: Charles' Burgers or Charles Burgers' or Charles Burger's and so on and so forth.  Try not to create such a generic business name to begin with.

Okay, I will leave you here for today.  Tune in next time for a closer look at the steps I took (in totality) to make my business legal.

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