Married Couples Still Have More Rights Than Unmarried

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(Credit: Getty Images/ Alex Wong)

(Credit: Getty Images/ Alex Wong)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - In this day and age, do married couples have rights that unmarried couples don’t?

Perhaps Antonio Banderas should have seen the end of his marriage coming, when soon-to-be-ex-wife Melanie Griffiths tweeted the question: Who believes in marriage?

That doesn’t bode well. The answer was: apparently not she. But the lawyers probably do. Because even though attitudes about living together have changed, there are still laws that, on balance, give greater protection to married couples.

In terms of money, unmarried couples aren’t generally on the hook for each other’s debts – but on the flip side, unmarried couples with separate bank accounts have no right to each other’s funds. Which may be fine – unless something happens to your partner and you’re not automatically entitled to pay his bills – or your joint ones.

Married couples are eligible for dependent or survivor Social Security benefits. Cohabitating, unmarried couples are not eligible for their partner’s dependents’ or survivors’ benefits.

Fair housing laws don’t generally prevent landlords from refusing to rent to unmarried couples.

And of course, the best news of all – there’s now an opening for the new Mrs. Banderas.

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