Since the landmark Supreme Court ruling in the Obergefell v. Hodges case in 2015, same-sex couples throughout the country, including California, are now afforded the same legal rights and privileges that opposite-sex couples enjoy in regard to marriage. However, no couple should take the decision to get married lightly. While there are many potential benefits to marrying your partner, there are also potential drawbacks.
Every situation is different, and ultimately you and your partner may decide that the potential benefits of remaining unmarried may outweigh the potential drawbacks of marriage, or vice versa.
Benefits of marriage
According to FindLaw, getting married affords each partner rights as it relates to estate planning, government benefits and property rights.
- Estate planning: If you and your partner decide to get married, estate planning may be much easier because, in the event of one spouse’s death, marriage presumes parental and property rights for the surviving spouse. If you choose not to get married, you can create a similar relationship by contract, but it will take a great deal of time and money. Furthermore, if you choose not to get married and one of you dies, the surviving partner will have to pay property-transfer taxes, whereas married couples are exempt from these taxes.
- Government benefits: All legally married couples in the United States are now entitled to the same state and federal benefits, including health care and Social Security benefits.
- Property rights: In the eyes of the law, you and your spouse jointly own any property that you acquire during your marriage.
Drawbacks of marriage
Joint property rights are something of a double-edged sword in that they are of benefit to a marriage but can be a drawback should the marriage come to an end. Typically, the court divides the jointly owned assets and debts evenly between the two divorcing spouses. On the other hand, if an unmarried couple splits up, each partner leaves the relationship with whatever property he or she brought to it in the first place. Furthermore, marriage involves a lot of formalities at its beginning, and sometimes at its end, that some couples may find off-putting or unnecessary.
The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.