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Understanding civil unions

People in Illinois who wish to make a commitment to each other but do not wish to get married can consider entering into a civil union. For some time, these agreements provided same-sex couples with the only opportunity they had to enjoy some sort of legalization of their relationships. Today, however, these couples can choose to get married yet may still feel that a civil union is the better option.

Whether you are in a male-male, female-female or male-female relationship, a civil union is an option for you under Illinois law. These unions provide some benefits to you and your partner but do differ from traditional marriages during the duration of the union as well as when you terminate a union. Some of these include:

  • If you receive health benefits, these can be factored in as income for your partner by the IRS. If you have a valid civil union in Illinois, these benefits will not be counted for your state tax obligation.
  • If you end a civil union, the property division settlement can be taxable for both you and your partner. The same is true for any spousal support received by either person. When a married couple gets a divorce, none of these occur.
  • You and your partner can be eligible for COBRA benefits if the insured person loses employment. You can even obtain health coverage for up to 24 months after you terminate your union.

Ending a civil union and getting divorced will both find couples forced to obtain a valuation of bank accounts, business assets and more in order to determine a final settlement.

The team of legal professionals at Lois Kulinsky and Associates, Ltd. has a wealth of experience drafting and terminating civil unions in Illinois and understand the nuances of these agreements.


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