23 January 2022

Legal and Economic Advantages of Marriage

Title article for SEO - Advantages of Marriage

It is important to understand that marriage is not only the celebration of love, the religious rite, it is also the celebration of a contract, which must be recorded in the Civil Registry. With the celebration of this contract comes the duties of respect, fidelity, cohabitation, cooperation and assistance, all in a reciprocal way.

When it comes to marriage, there are two types of celebration possible: civil or religious. But what are the differences, after all?

In Portugal

Property Ruling Regime

When it comes to choosing the property regime, marriage offers more options than a civil partnership. When opting for marriage, the spouses acquire the power to choose the Property Regime, that is, they will be able to choose between the General Communion Property Regime, the Communion of Acquired Property Regime, or the Separation of Property Regime.

In the General Communion of Property Regime all of the couple's assets are assumed to be in common, irrespective of the date on which they were acquired.

The Communion of Acquired property regime consists of a barrier between the past and the present/future. In this way, there is a clear separation between assets existing before the marriage, and assets acquired afterwards. Each spouse's own property, property received by inheritance or donation, and property acquired by a previous right of its own is property prior to the marriage.

In the Separation of Property Regime, and as the name indicates, there is no sharing of any property, so each member of the couple retains exclusive ownership of all assets they may have acquired previously and in the future.

With regard to the civil partnership, in case of separation, contrary to the regimes discussed for marriage, there is no division similar to that of marriage. It should be noted that, in the absence of an agreement, the Communion of Acquired Property Regime will apply by default.

Inheritance Rights

When a couple is united by marriage, in the event of the death of the spouse, the other spouse is considered the heir of the estate.

On the contrary, if the couple is in a civil partnership, the other member of the couple is not considered an heir.

Survivor benefits

Both in marriage and in the civil partnership, there is the right to receive a survivor's pension, which consists of a monthly payment that varies depending on the amount of the deceased's pension. This pension works as compensation for the loss of income resulting from the death of the spouse.

In a civil partnership, there is also the possibility of claiming a maintenance allowance from the deceased's estate and the right to the death grant.

Tax benefits

When talking about tax benefits, it is important to realize that these days both civil statuses are similar.

Depending on the income earned, the expenses declared and whether or not they have children, it may be worth filing the IRS jointly or separately. Contact one of our specialized professionals to find the most advantageous solution for you.

Marriage License

Marriage Leave is a period of 15 consecutive days, counting from the wedding day (inclusive), during which employees can take justified absence from work without having their wages affected.

This is a leave that does not affect the right to the holidays provided by law. 

In Spain


The couple can choose to carry out individual or joint taxation in the IRPF (Individual Income Tax). However, the option of joint taxation is only available to those who are married, which is a huge advantage over a civil partnership.

As a general rule, the joint taxation system is more advantageous for couples who have children. However, in this option there is always a deduction that can present very advantageous results.

In very specific cases, individual taxation may be more beneficial for the couple. In this sense, it is essential to hire a specialized professional to analyze and present the best solution.


There are several differences in the acquisition of inheritances for these two types of celebrations.

Couples who opted for a civil partnership do not automatically have access to the inheritance left by their partner. In order for them to have access to it, there must be a will in which the other party regulates this desire (depending on what the law establishes in case there are other heirs).

In case they are married without a will, the inheritance is conceived in its entirety if the deceased has no parents or children. In case he has parents he/she only receives 50% and if he has children 30%.

The percentage of inheritance tax paid depends on the autonomous community in which the couple resides. But once married, they can receive a bonus that ends up reducing this tax.

Widow's/Widower's Pension

Access to the widow's or Widower’s  pension is also subject to different requirements.

In couples who have opted for marriage, the pension is obtained practically autonomously without the need to argue through documentation of any kind. Social Security does not establish a minimum income for married widowers, however, the widow's pension for those who opted for a civil partnership is subject to compliance with limits in this regard. In the latter case, the spouse will have to prove the existence of a stable and uninterrupted coexistence for five years prior to the death of their partner. In addition, the partnership must have been registered two years before the death, otherwise the spouse will lose the right to the pension.

Social Security

Being married, it only takes one member to work for the other to be entitled to health care. This does not apply to unmarried couples.


The main advantage of marriage in relation to the civil partnership in a work environment is that each worker will be entitled to paid vacation for 15 consecutive days, starting from the date of the wedding or the first working day of its celebration.

Not to mention that, in the event of death, accident, serious illness, surgery or hospitalization that requires home rest for relatives up to the second degree, the couple will be entitled to a two-day leave. Unmarried couples will not have these benefits.

In the United States of America

In the United States the states which allow couples to unite by civil partnership generally have the same rights and responsibilities as couples united by marriage. The main difference is that in civil partnerships partners are not entitled to federal benefits.

Tax benefits
  • Deduction of marital tax: The unlimited marriage tax deduction is the largest tax benefit a couple can receive. The couple can transfer an unlimited amount of assets to their spouse at any time, tax-free. This also includes leaving assets from one’s estate to the spouse without being subject to inheritance or gift tax.
  • Filling taxes jointly: Getting married and filing taxes together may or may not be beneficial, depending on the couple's financial situation. If the two members of the couple have a high income, the amount of taxes ends up being high. However, if one of the spouses is unemployed and the other has a well-paid job, or just one job, it is beneficial to file jointly. This last option is not allowed for couples who opted for civil partnership
Financial Benefits of Marriage
  • Social security benefits: If one of the members of the couple does not qualify for social security benefits, they can receive benefits from the other spouse. The reward is not immediate, you must be at least 62 years old or caring for a disabled child under 16.
  • Prenuptial agreement benefits: The law states that when two people marry, they build an economic partnership. In other words, in case of divorce, the assets are divided fairly between the spouses.
Legal Benefits
  • Legal decision making: Marriage and civil partnership allow one to have the status of next of kin for hospital visits, which grants you the ability to make medical decisions should one’s spouse become ill or incapacitated.
  • Inheritance: Both marriage and civil partnership allow one to receive the inheritance without having tax and probate. 
Health and employment benefits
  • Health insurance: By being married you can obtain health insurance from your spouse. Something quite useful since, one of the couple's employers may not offer this working condition, thus one element is enough to have this perk.
  • Leave of Absence: If one’s spouse becomes ill, or if someone in the family dies, one is entitled to family leave or bereavement leave, depending on the situation. 

Do you have any doubts? Castilho International Law Firm is available for clarification.