The laws in Illinois surrounding civil unions are rapidly changing. At Lois Kulinsky & Associates, Ltd., we can help you understand your rights and handle all the estate planning and tax issues if you wish to enter into a civil union. We can also help you terminate a civil union if you wish to go your separate ways — or if you now wish to marry.
To learn more about civil unions in Illinois and our family law practice, contact us online. In a free, half-hour consultation, one of our lawyers can provide answers to your questions and concerns.
What Is a Civil Union in Illinois?
A civil union is a legal relationship between two people. The partners can be either the same or opposite sex, cannot be related, cannot be in an existing marriage and must each be at least 18 years old.
Our attorneys can help you with all aspects of an Illinois civil union, including:
- Dissolution or termination of civil unions
- Determinations of parentage and adoption
- Estate planning issues including setting up trusts and drafting wills
COBRA and Insurance Issues
Civil unions are still recognized in Illinois and many other states, but they are not marriages. This is important for a number of reasons. For example, federal law does not guarantee the continuation of health insurance coverage under COBRA for partners in a civil union.
Under Illinois spousal continuation law, however, civil union partners are eligible to continue coverage for up to 12 months after a partner is fired. Even if the civil union is dissolved, a party to a civil union is eligible to continue coverage for up to two years. If the non-employee is over the age of 55, then the coverage can last until that person is eligible for Medicare.
Tax Issues for Couples in Civil Unions
There are also federal tax issues and concerns for parties to a civil union. For instance, health benefits for a non-employee partner will be treated as income and taxed to the employee, unless the partner qualifies as a dependant. Under Illinois law, those benefits are not taxable for state income tax purposes.
In a dissolution of a civil union, there are tax issues under Illinois law. In a divorce, division of the marital estate is not taxable to either party. However, this benefit is not extended to couples in a civil union. Additionally, maintenance and spousal support are taxable to the payee under Illinois and federal law.
Contact Us Now for a Free Consultation About Civil Unions
To learn more about the termination of a civil union or your rights in a civil union in Illinois, contact us online to set up a free, half-hour consultation. Our main office is in Wheeling, and we also have an office in Libertyville and Buffalo Grove for your convenience.