What are the legal effects of marriage?

There are several Federal and state laws that benefit married couples. Some examples include the right to:

File joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities.

Create a "family partnership" under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members (this will often lower the total tax on the income).

Create a marital life estate trust.

Receive spouse's and dependents' Social Security, disability, unemployment, veterans', pension, and public assistance benefits.

Receive a share of your deceased spouse's estate under intestate succession laws.

Claim an estate tax marital deduction.

Sue a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium.

Sue a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these lawsuits are available in only a few states).

Receive family rates for insurance.

Avoid the deportation of a non-citizen spouse.

Enter hospital intensive care units, jails, and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family.