When the average person decides to get married, it’s typically not for money, and that’s a good thing. Marrying for money obviously isn’t the best idea if long-term happiness is the goal. However, the truth is that marriage does, in fact, come with its share of financial perks and legal protection. We spoke to a few financial and legal experts to find out what some of those perks are. Here’s what they had to say:
Better mortgage terms
“Married couples can be more successful in qualifying better mortgage terms because lenders will consider two incomes for repayment ability,” says Simon Zhen, Research Analyst at My Bank Tracker. “More notably, the combined incomes enable married couples to take out a larger home loan.”
“Health insurance is a necessity and married couples can get health insurance cheaper and easier compared to two single policies,” adds Zhen. “And, if one individual loses a job and health coverage, the other spouse’s health coverage could be available as a backup.”
Division of assets
“When couples are not married or in a recognized domestic partnership, they may be at risk of being left with little or nothing in terms of assets when and if the relationship breaks down. Married couples, on the other hand, will be entitled to a division of marital assets and debts in court if they decide to go their separate ways,” explains Dorit Goikhman, attorney and owner of Off the Record Mediation Services.
“The laws governing the division of marital property will vary from state to state, but the general concepts are largely the same. Both your and your spouse’s income is generally considered ‘marital property’ to the extent it is earned during the marriage. This means that property purchased with this income can be distributed by a court in a divorce. This can include homes, vehicles, bank accounts, savings account, retirement accounts etc. If you are not married, none of these assets will be considered marital property. This doesn’t mean that it can’t be split evenly at the time of separation, but it does mean that unmarried couples will have to do more planning in terms of property they own because they will not get the benefit of law.”
The absence of a will
“While this is a morbid thought, it’s important to think about what happens if one party dies. When parties are not married, they are left to rely upon each party having an up-to-date will which is properly drafted and which covers all of your assets,” Goikhman However, married couples will enjoy more favorable laws that ensure a surviving spouse is likely to be the first in line to receive at least some percentage of the assets even in the absence of a complete will.