April 21, 2006, Newsletter Issue #12: Common Law Marriage and Dental Insurance

Tip of the Week

One of the great things about getting group dental coverage from your employer, is that your spouse and family will usually get covered as well. However, the same is not necessarily true for your same-sex or lifetime partner with whom you are not married.

If you’re in a heterosexual relationship in which you have lived with your partner for several years, you should consult the common law marriage rules for your state. After some period of time, specific to each state, your partner legally and automatically becomes your spouse, no ceremony or “I Do” required. As soon as this happens, he or she should be covered under your employer’s group dental plan, though the burden is on you to let your employer know of the change in your marriage status.

If you’re in a homosexual relationship, however, there is no such equivalent law and many states do not recognize same-sex marriages at all. Fortunately, some employers choose to recognize same-sex marriages regardless of state law, so you should inquire as to your employer’s benefits policies regarding same-sex couples, even if your state doesn’t recognize such unions.

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