The Law Offices of Joel M. Mazel
An innovative, accessible attorney who will protect your interests
FAMILY LAW FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What is the legal definition of marriage?
A: Most states define marriage as a civil contract between a man and a woman to become husband and wife. The traditional way to marry is to get a marriage license from a state-authorized official, then participate in a formal civil or religious wedding ceremony.
Q: What are the legal effects of marriage?
A: 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
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