Being joined in marriage entitles you to many financial benefits.
You can file joint income tax returns, though this is not a requirement of law.
Filing jointly might reduce your tax, depending on the deductions and credits you qualify for. The new 2018 tax law changed the tax brackets such that the married filing jointly income thresholds are now double the single thresholds for all but the two highest tax brackets.
That means that the "marriage penalty" that many couples experienced when the thresholds were not aligned so precisely is largely gone; it now only occurs in the two top tax brackets, in which combined income is greater than $400,000.
A great advantage of being married is the ability to share in benefits that your spouse receives. In turn, he or she can share in yours.
You can receive benefits from Social Security, Medicare, and disability for being a spouse. You can also get public assistance benefits in some cases.
As a married person, you can get various military and veterans' benefits—such as medical and education benefits—for spouses.
Of course, insurance benefits from your spouse's employer are available to you as well, and you can qualify for family rates for all kinds of insurance.
If your spouse dies, you can receive his or her retirement plan benefits and any wages or workers' compensation. These are on top of Social Security and Medicare benefits that your spouse was receiving.
Employees whose spouses need care during an illness can qualify for family leave for a time. Should your spouse pass away, you can qualify for bereavement leave as well.
The family that works together …
Going into business?
Why not create a family partnership so you can pool resources together? Assuming you can survive working with family members, the family partnership lets you divide business income among the participating members.
If you divorce
If you divorce, you are entitled to equitable division of property acquired during the marriage.
You are not entitled to this benefit if you are unmarried, unless you have drawn up a specific contract for it. You can also get child support and spousal support as well as custody and visitation.
Some legal benefits of being married
As a rule, there are many discounts and incentives that only married couples can qualify for.
For example, a husband or wife can automatically renew a lease signed by his or her spouse. There may also be benefits for education, such as tuition discounts.
If your spouse is the victim of a crime, you may qualify for crime victims' recovery benefits.
This content was created in partnership with the Financial Fitness Group, a leading e-learning provider of FINRA compliant financial wellness solutions that help improve financial literacy.
Read more information and tips in our Family section