While marriage is all fairy tale magic and happily-ever-afters, you mustn’t forget that marriage is also a legal contract, a fact many couples don’t initially acknowledge. There are many legal rights and obligations that accompany getting married in Singapore. Any lifelong contract merits some research and understanding; here is what you should know about your legal rights when tying the knot

Basic Legal Definition Of Marriage in Singapore

The basic definition of a civil marriage in Singapore is a union of two people, where one or both parties are non-Muslim, after obtaining the proper license from the Registry of Marriage (ROM) and taking part in a solemnisation ceremony.

There are also Muslim marriages, which take place when both partners are Muslim. When applying for a Muslim marriage you must register with the Registry of Muslim Marriages (ROMM) where you will be married according to the Administration of Muslim Law Act (AMLA).

Before saying ‘I do,’ couples should know the legal rights they obtain after making it official. Prenuptial agreements, and splitting assets before a marriage is one way in which you can change the rights – defined by Singapore law – before tying the knot.  Other rights and benefits of becoming married include tax, inheritance, estate planning and other sometimes advantageous legal rights.

What Rights Do You Gain when you get married in Singapore?

Newly married couples can look towards numerous tax benefits, mortgage options and other ways to improve their situation or use their newfound rights.

Here are some immediate rights you should be aware of when marrying in Singapore:

1. Tax Benefits:
The ability to file joint taxes can give you a variety of tax breaks or incentives, especially if you’re a foreigner conducting business in Singapore.

Be sure to consult a local tax advisor to ensure that you are maximising these sometimes financial benefits. One new tax benefit offered to married couples in Singapore is a $2,000 spouse relief. This credit can be claimed if one spouse does have an annual income of more than $4,000 per year.  As Singapore continues to offer incentives to young families tax benefits are expected to continue to increase

2. Baby Benefits:
Since 2010, the Singapore government has been putting in place efforts to persuade citizens to marry and start families. Baby bonuses, baby health care coverage, and fertility treatments for couples trying to conceive are just a few of the rights given to couples.

3. Employee Benefits:
Most employers will allow your spouse to obtain health coverage through your existing plan. If your spouse becomes ill, you will be given a defined leave period by your employer.  Other benefits, such as employee discounts or health management may become available to your spouse via your employer. For example, married women are eligible to take up to 8 weeks of paid maternity leave if they have been with their employer for at least 3 months.

4. Estate Planning Benefits:
Inheritance rights become much less complicated when you become married, and you will instantly gain more rights compared to your pre-marriage days.

Nice Benefits – Where Is The Responsibility?

Any marriage is a tremendous responsibility for both parties, but what legal rights or responsibilities come along with your marriage ceremony?

Although the responsibilities vary slightly by state, they generally include being responsible for financially supporting any children in the marriage.  Another common responsibility is a liability for certain kinds of family expenses, such as medical costs.

Unless a prenuptial agreement is in place, a marriage is also an agreement to share property and financial resources, which can drastically change your financial rights if you enter into a marriage with existing assets.

After the wedding party, it may be time to find out your rights and complete any paperwork that will allow you to use some of your newfound rights, or take care of your responsibilities.

Changing your name, updating bank accounts, and estate planning documents are good places to start.  Now that you have made a commitment to your spouse for a lifetime make another commitment to each other to know your legal rights and exercise them accordingly and to your best advantage.

Here are more considerations before you get married:
4 Financial Discussions You Should Have Before Getting Married
Should You Have Joint Or Separate Bank Accounts?

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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva


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