Is it Worth Getting Married? | Watermans

Is it Worth Getting Married? Reasons why you should just get married already!

Weddings are lovely. Especially when the sun comes out. Declaring your commitment to each other in front of all your friends and family and having a big party to celebrate is great. But often people think that if they’re already living together and in a committed relationship, sealing the deal with the official bit won’t make a difference – so is it worth getting married? It’s just a piece of paper, right?

Wrong. It’s a potentially risky move to not get things legally binding and could cause you complications further down the line if things go wrong. We’ve collated some very grown-up and functional reasons why marriage is the smart thing to do if you love each other and plan to spend your lives together.

Tax breaks

The Marriage Allowance is a tax break for married/civil partnered couples only. It allows you to transfer £1,260 of your Personal Allowance to your spouse or civil partner if they earn more than you, reducing their tax by up to £252 in the tax year (6 April to 5 April the next year). Not quite enough to retire to the Bahamas on, but every little helps.
You will also normally pay no Capital Gains Tax on assets you transfer to your spouse (with some exceptions).

If the worst happens

We don’t want to think about it – but marriage also makes a difference if one of you passes away, and it’s much better to be prepared for these situations ahead of time than be blindsided. The best way to ensure that your estate is dealt with the way you wish is to make a Will. However, if one of you dies without a Will, the surviving spouse has automatic rights to part of the estate – and these can be worth a significant amount. In comparison, a surviving cohabitant would have to go to court within six months to make a claim against the estate – a big ask when you’re grieving, and an additional cost in legal fees.

It can also be easier to make a claim for any death in service or pension benefits if you are married, and you can also access bereavement benefits from the State which are not available to cohabitants (unless you have children together). Losing your partner is bad enough emotionally without having to worry about money, so it’s worth thinking about the worst-case scenario.

Splitting up

Typical pessimistic lawyers, thinking about divorce before you’re even married – but if you do separate, you have more options and rights if you’re married. For example, you have a right to claim spousal maintenance from your partner if they earn more; you can ask for a share of their pension and other assets; and you can ask a court to transfer your home into your name if you can’t agree about buying each other out. Cohabitants don’t have a legal claim on any of these things, so you are at risk of losing out financially if you are unmarried, even if you’ve been together for a long time. If you have more money than your partner and are worried about protecting your own assets on divorce, you can always sort that out fairly and openly with a prenup.

Plus, bonus benefits that aren’t void of all romance… You can book an extravagant honeymoon. Presents. New rings. Gorgeous family photos. Stag and hen nights.

So, there you have it, is it worth getting married? Feel free to click the share button and drop a not-so-subtle hint to your other half.

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Our Family Law expert

“People often say to me that family law must be a depressing job – but I’ve never felt that. What we do makes a difference. I love working with my clients to understand their stories, help them work out where they want to get to, and collaborate with them to achieve their goals. Seeing people come through it and embark on a new stage of their lives is a great feeling.”

Dianne Millen, Head of Family Law