Consequences of, and Incidents of, Marriage

There are numerous legal rights and obligations when someone marries, some of which can be changed by a premarital agreement (or a separation agreement). Below is a brief (believe it or not) list of the rights and responsibilities, known as the incidents of marriage, that are different for unmarried partners:

Adoption (both spouses must join the petition to adopt)

Alimony and spousal support

Bankruptcy rights

Criminal law (duty to support, etc.)

Equitable distribution of marital assets and debts

“Family” rates (auto insurance, gym memberships, health insurance, etc.)

Health insurance rights

Immigration rights

Inheritance rights

Judgments for money owed

Marital privilege (testifying in court)

Military benefits and rights

Name changes

Next of kin designation (hospital, prison, etc.)

Paternity and birth certificates of children

Pension and other retirement benefits

Social security benefits

Survivorship rights

Taxes (filing status, deductions, exclusions, innocent spouse, etc.)

Torts, which are lawsuits for civil wrongs (alienation of affection, criminal conversation, loss of consortium, etc.)

Vital Records (right to personal records such as death certificates, birth certificates, etc.)

Welfare and public benefits

Wiretap Act exceptions allowing recording in some states

Zoning (number of unmarried or unrelated people in the residence)

Print This Post