FACTOID # 3: South Carolina has the highest rate of violent crimes and aggravated assaults per capita among US states.
 Home   Encyclopedia   Statistics   States A-Z   Flags   Maps   FAQ   About 


FACTS & STATISTICS    Advanced view

Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:



(* = Graphable)



Encyclopedia > Rights and responsibilities of marriages in the United States

According to the United States' Government Accountability Office, there are slightly over one thousand federal laws that treat married people differently from single people. It should be noted that these rights and responsibilities only apply to opposite-sex married couples, as the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) barred same-sex married couples from receiving any federal benefits. GAO headquarters The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is the non-partisan audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of Congress, and an agency in the Legislative Branch of the United States Government. ... Obverse of the Great Seal of the United States. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, is the commonly-used name of a federal law of the United States that is officially known as Pub. ... Same-sex marriage is the legal union of two people who are of the same biological sex or gender. ...

Prior to the enactment of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the General Accounting Office GAO identified 1049 federal statutory provisions in which benefits, rights, and privileges are contingent on marital status or in which marital status is a factor. An update was published in 2004 by the GAO covering the period between September 21, 1996 (when DOMA was signed into law) and December 31, 2003. The update identified 120 new statutory provisions involving marital status, and 31 statutory provisions involving marital status repealed or amended in such a way as to eliminate marital status as a factor. This yields a total of 1138 provisions in which marital status is a factor in determining benefits, rights, and privileges. The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, is the commonly-used name of a federal law of the United States that is officially known as Pub. ... The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is the audit, evaluation, and investigative agency of the United States Congress. ... A persons marital status describes their relationship with a significant other. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... 1138 is the natural number following 1137 and preceding 1139. ...

These include:


Rights and Benefits

  • Right to many of ex- or late spouse's benefits, including:
    • Social Security pension
    • veteran's pensions, indemnity compensation for service-connected deaths, medical care, and nursing home care, right to burial in veterans' cemeteries, educational assistance, and housing
    • survivor benefits for federal employees
    • survivor benefits for spouses of longshoremen, harbor workers, railroad workers
    • additional benefits to spouses of coal miners who die of black lung disease
    • $100,000 to spouse of any public safety officer killed in the line of duty
    • continuation of employer-sponsored health benefits
    • renewal and termination rights to spouse's copyrights on death of spouse
    • continued water rights of spouse in some circumstances
    • payment of wages and workers compensation benefits after worker death
    • making, revoking, and objecting to post-mortem anatomical gifts
  • Right to benefits while married:
    • employment assistance and transitional services for spouses of members being separated from military service; continued commissary privileges
    • per diem payment to spouse for federal civil service employees when relocating
    • Indian Health Service care for spouses of Native Americans (in some circumstances)
    • sponsor husband/wife for immigration benefits
  • Larger benefits under some programs if married, including:
  • Joint and family-related rights:
    • joint filing of bankruptcy permitted
    • joint parenting rights, such as access to children's school records
    • family visitation rights for the df gfh g, such as reduced rate memberships to clubs & organizations or residency in certain neighborhoods
  • Preferential hiring for spouses of veterans in government jobs
  • Tax-free transfer of property between spouses (including on death) and exemption from "due-on-sale" clauses.
  • Special consideration to spouses of citizens and resident aliens
  • Spouse's flower sales count towards meeting the eligibility for Fresh Cut Flowers and Fresh Cut Greens Promotion and Information Act
  • Threats against spouses of various federal employees is a federal crime
  • Right to continue living on land purchased from spouse by National Park Service when easement granted to spouse
  • Court notice of probate proceedings
  • Domestic violence protection orders
  • Existing homestead lease continuation of rights
  • Regulation of condominium sales to owner-occupants exemption
  • Funeral and bereavement leave
  • Joint adoption and foster care
  • Joint tax filing
  • Insurance licenses, coverage, eligibility, and benefits organization of mutual benefits society
  • Legal status with stepchildren
  • Making spousal medical decisions
  • Spousal non-resident tuition deferential waiver
  • Permission to make arrangements for burial or cremation
  • Right of survivorship of custodial trust
  • Right to change surname upon marriage
  • Right to enter into prenuptial agreement
  • Right to inheritance of property
  • Spousal privilege and confidential marriage communications

Social Security, in the United States, refers to the Federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program. ... A pension is a steady income given to a person (usually after retirement). ... A veteran (from Latin vetus, meaning old) is a person who is experienced in a particular area, and is particularly used to refer to people in the armed forces. ... Pneumoconiosis, also known as miners lung, is a lung condition caused by the inhalation of dust, characterized by formation of nodular fibrotic changes in lungs. ... Water Rights refers to a legal system for allocating water from a water source to water users. ... A wage is the amount of money paid for some specified quantity of labour. ... Workers compensation programs and laws exist to protect employees who are injured while on the job. ... The Indian Health Service (IHS), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is responsible for providing federal health services to American Indians and Alaska Natives. ... Supplemental Security Income is a monthly stipend provided to some citizens by the United States federal government. ... Medicaid is the US health insurance program for individuals and families with low incomes and resources. ... Property tax is an ad valorem tax that an owner of real estate or other property pays on the value of the thing taxed. ... An income tax is a tax levied on the financial income of persons, corporations or other legal entities. ... Citizenship is membership in a political community (originally a city but now a state), and carries with it rights to political participation; a person having such membership is a citizen. ... This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... The Fresh Cut Flowers and Fresh Cut Greens Promotion and Information Order, which implements the act, requires qualified handlers of fresh cut flowers and greens, with sales of $750,000 or more annually, to pay an assessment to the National PromoFlor Council. ... Probate is the legal process of settling the estate of a deceased person; specifically, resolving all claims and distributing the decedents property. ... Domestic violence occurs when a family member, partner or ex-partner attempts to physically or psychologically dominate or harm the other. ... A condominium, or condo for short, is a form of housing tenure. ... Underwater funeral in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea A funeral is a ceremony marking a persons death. ... Sad redirects here; for the three letter acronym, see SAD. Suffering is any unwanted condition and the corresponding negative emotion. ... Adoption is the legal act of permanently placing a child with a parent or parents other than the birth parents. ... Foster care is a system by which adults care for minor children who are not able to live with their biological parents. ... A tax (also known as a duty) is a financial charge or other levy imposed on an individual or a legal entity by a state or a functional equivalent of a state (e. ... Insurance, in law and economics, is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of catastrophic financial loss. ... A stepfamily is the family one acquires when a parent marries someone new. ... See drugs, medication, and pharmacology for substances that are used to treat patients. ... The crematorium at Haycombe Cemetery, Bath, England. ... A family name, or surname, is that part of a persons name that indicates to what family he or she belongs. ... // Definition A prenuptial agreement or antenuptial agreement, commonly abbreviated to prenup or prenupt, is a contract entered into by two people prior to marriage or civil union. ... Inheritance is the practice of passing on property, titles, debts, and obligations upon the death of an individual. ... The spousal privilege, also known as the marital communication privilege or marital privilege, is a form of privileged communication protecting the contents of communications between husband and wife. ...


  • Spousal income and assets are counted in determining need in many forms of government assistance, including:
    • veteran's medical and home care benefits
    • housing assistance
    • housing loans for veterans
    • child's education loans
    • educational loan repayment schedule
    • agricultural price supports and loans
    • eligibility for federal matching campaign funds
  • Ineligible for National Affordable Housing program if spouse ever purchased a home:
  • Subject to conflict-of-interest rules for many government and government-related jobs
  • Ineligible to receive various survivor benefits upon remarriage

Affordable housing is a dwelling where the total housing costs are affordable to those living in that housing unit. ...


There are some laws that either benefit or penalize married couples over single people, depending upon their own circumstances:

  • Marriage penalty/bonus
  • Someone working for their spouse cannot be defined as an "employee"
  • Someone cannot change beneficiaries in a retirement plan or from waiving the joint and survivor annuity form of retirement benefit, without the written consent of his or her spouse
  • Wages can be garnished at a maximum of 60% (instead of the normal 25% limit) if the garnishing is for alimony or child support

In many countries alimony, maintenance or spousal support is an obligation established by law that is based on the premise that both spouses have an absolute obligation to support each other during the marriage (or civil union) unless they are legally separated, though in some instances the obligation to support... In many countries, child support or child maintenance is the ongoing obligation for a periodic payment made by a non-custodial parent to a custodial parent, caregiver or guardian, for the care and support of children of a relationship or marriage that has been terminated. ...


In addition, community-property states frequently have forms of ownership that allow a full basis step-up on one's own share of community property on the death of a spouse (in addition to the normal step-up on spouse's assets).

Legal remedies enacted following the GAO report

Following this report, at least one bill went through congress to attempt to remedy some of the differences in rights between same sex partnerships and marriages. The Uniting American Families Act is at least one.

See also

Same-sex marriage, often called gay marriage, is a marriage between two persons of the same gender. ... This article serves to provide the final outcome of legislation only. ... This article summarizes the legal and political actions taken by the individual states of the United States regarding same-sex marriage. ... Advocates of same-sex marriage generally hold that marriage and its benefits should not be denied to same-sex couples, and that such a denial infringes one or more of their rights as American citizens. ... Same sex marriage permitted Laws permitting civil unions or domestic partnerships Same sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships prohibited State Constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage State law banning same sex marriage No state law banning same sex marriage (however, judicial or executive rulings prevent same sex marriage) Same... The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, is the commonly-used name of a federal law of the United States that is officially known as Pub. ... The Marriage Protection Act is a bill considered by the U.S. Congress and passed by the House of Representatives in 2004, and reintroduced in the House in 2005, that sought to divest the power of the federal courts to hear cases related to the Marriage Protection Act itself, as... Defense of marriage amendments are U.S. state constitutional amendments that have been proposed, and in some instances adopted, to prevent the legalization of same-sex marriage. ... The Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution which would define marriage in the United States as a union of one man and one woman. ... In the United States, domestic partnership is a legal status similar to marriage that has been available to same-sex couples (and sometimes opposite-sex couples). ... Marriage Under Fire: Why We Must Win This Battle is a book by Dr. James Dobson, published by Multnomah Publishers, Inc. ... The Freedom to Marry coalition is a conglomeration of groups working toward the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States. ... Marriage Equality is a national organization fighting for legal recognition of same-sex marriage through education and outreach in US, which was founded on February 12, 1998. ... Islam advocates a harmonious relationship between husband and wife. ...

External links

the 2004 updated reports of the GAO, both in PDF format To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...

Further reading

  • Tax Administration: Income Tax Treatment of Married and Single Individuals. GAO/GGD-96-175, September 3, 1996.

  Results from FactBites:
Annulment Laws > Procedures > Nullification of Marriage (1167 words)
The majority rule states that a party to the marriage may seek annulment in a court of equity where the marriage results from levity, jest, no intention to bind or enter into relationship, or no intention to assume rights or responsibilities of marriage.
Some courts hold these statutes applicable even where residents of the state go to another state, have the ceremony performed, and immediately return to their former residence, although the marriage was valid where performed.
However, courts of one state cannot, at the suit of either party, annul a marriage which was valid under the laws of another state on the ground that the marriage is contrary to domicile state's laws regarding blood relationship marriages.
Marriage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (5788 words)
Marriages are generally publicly declared in the context of a wedding ceremony.
Marriages may be mediated by religious or political institutions and are generally bound by conventions which establish rights and privileges, and which establish limits of consanguinity and other restrictions.
Conversely, a marriage is commonly held to require a sexual relationship, and non-consummation (that is, failure to engage in sex) may be held grounds for an annulment (as for instance in the of John Ruskin's abortive marriage).
  More results at FactBites »



Share your thoughts, questions and commentary here
Your name
Your comments

Want to know more?
Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:


Press Releases |  Feeds | Contact
The Wikipedia article included on this page is licensed under the GFDL.
Images may be subject to relevant owners' copyright.
All other elements are (c) copyright NationMaster.com 2003-5. All Rights Reserved.
Usage implies agreement with terms, 1022, m