- Filing joint income tax returns with the IRS and state tax agencies.
- Establishing a “family partnership” through federal tax laws, which enables you to split business income among members of your family.
Estate Planning Benefits
- Getting an exemption from equally estate taxes and gift taxes for each of the property you give and/or bequeath to your spouse.
- Obtaining priority when your spouse requires a conservator–that is, an individual to make financial and/or medical resolutions for your spouse
- Creating life estate trusts that are limited to married couples, comprising of a QTIP trust, QDOT trust, and a marital deduction trust.
- Inheriting a portion of your spouse’s estate.
- Obtaining Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.
- Obtaining veterans’ and/or military benefits for spouses, like those for schooling, medical care, or specialized loans.
- Obtaining public assistance benefits.
- Obtaining insurance benefits from a spouse’s employer.
- Taking family leave for caring for your spouse throughout an ailment.
- Obtaining wages, workers’ comp, and retirement plan benefits for a spouse that has passed away.
- Taking bereavement time off should your spouse or one of your spouse’s close family members passes away.
- Visiting your spouse in a hospital ICU or throughout limited visiting hours in other parts of a medical clinic.
- Making medical decisions should your spouse become incapacitated and unable to convey treatment wishes.
- Approval of after-death examinations and processes.
- Devising burial or other end of life arrangements.
- Filing for stepparent or joint adoption(s).
- Requesting for joint foster care rights.
- Obtaining a portion of marital property should you divorce.
- Obtaining spousal and/or child support and/or custody, and visitation should you divorce.
- Residing in neighborhoods zoned for “families-only.”
- Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.
- Obtaining family rates for health, homeowners’, vehicle, and other kinds of insurance.
- Obtaining tuition rebates and approval to use school facilities.
- Other consumer rebates and rewards only offered to married couples or families.
Other Legal Benefits and Protections
- Suing a 3rd person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of intimacy
- Suing a 3rd person for offenses that hinders the success of your marriage, like detachment of affection and criminal conversation (these statutes are available in only a couple of states).
- Claiming the marital communications privilege, meaning a court can’t force you to disclose the subjects of confidential communications made between you and your spouse during your marriage.
- Receiving crime victims’ recovery benefits should your spouse be the victim of a crime.
- Receiving immigration and residency benefits for a non-citizen spouse.
- Visiting rights in jailhouses and other areas in which visitors are restricted to only immediate family.
Same-Sex Marriage, Civil Unions, and Common Law Marriages
On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States settled the historic Obergefell case and ruled that same-sex marriage injunctions are unconstitutional, and same-sex couples are able to legally marry anywhere throughout the US. When you’re in a same-sexed marriage, your union is going to be legally acknowledged throughout the US and you’re eligible to all the related state and federal benefits as opposite-sexed married couples.
Nevertheless, these statues don’t apply to unmarried couples that have either established a civil union or domestic partnership. When you’re in either of these two marriage-optional unions, none of the benefits of marriage under federal law are going to apply to you, since the federal government does not acknowledge these same-sexed relationships. For instance, you might not file joint federal income tax returns alongside your partner, even when your state enables you for jointly filing your state tax returns. And other federal benefits, like Social Security death benefits and Cobra continuance insurance coverage, might not apply.
Lina Guillen, A. (2020, November 6). Marriage rights and benefits. www.nolo.com. Retrieved June 27, 2022, from https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/marriage-rights-benefits-30190.html
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