Category Archives: Family Law

How to Address Legal Issues Involving Your Wedding and the Coronavirus

Wheaton prenup attorney cohabitation agreement coronavirusOn March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that COVID-19, commonly referred to as the coronavirus, is enough of a global threat to humanity that it can now be classified as a “pandemic.” As more and more events with large gatherings are getting canceled or postponed, couples planning to tie the knot may be concerned. Here is why weddings are particularly susceptible to the coronavirus and what you might want to consider doing about it, including postponing it and choosing to work on your prenuptial agreement or cohabitation agreement instead.

Why Weddings Are Dangerous Due to the Coronavirus

Although most people have aimed their attention on the cancellation of major events and other public gatherings, including festivals like South by Southwest and Coachella, and sporting events like the NCAA March Madness Tournament, not enough focus has been placed on weddings. Weddings are particularly dangerous when it comes to the coronavirus because:

  • Most weddings have large amounts of people crowded into relatively small places.

  • The guests of many weddings are coming from all over the country and world, which increases the likelihood of some carrying the coronavirus.

  • Many guests that both the bride and groom would like to have in attendance at their wedding are elderly and therefore more susceptible to the virus.

You Postponed Your Wedding—Now What?

For many people, the question is not really what you should do about your wedding; it is what you should do instead of your wedding. With Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker recommending a ban on sporting events until May 1 and countless major events already canceled, it is becoming increasingly clear that a contingency plan for your wedding might be necessary. You might want to postpone your wedding and do the following with your time instead while you wait for the virus to run its course:

  • Work on a prenuptial agreement—This can often take longer than you would expect, but odds are once you complete it, you will be happy with the result. You might even be closer as a couple.

  • Develop a cohabitation agreement—If you are not already living together, maybe now would be a great time to give it a try. Consider starting out with a cohabitation agreement. This type of agreement can also be beneficial if you are already living together and want to establish or reaffirm some ground rules. Setting these rules early on could help you ease into your future marriage.

  • Marry each other without the wedding—You can go to your local courthouse and demonstrate your devotion to your partner by getting married without all the elaborate planning and large crowds—and possible coronavirus risks—that are involved with the wedding itself. This does not mean you will never have a wedding; it just means you will be taking a rain check on it until the coronavirus situation is remedied.

What to Do if the Wedding Must Go On

For the brave souls going through with their weddings despite the threat of the coronavirus, here are some tips to minimize possible infections:

  • Warn guests, particularly the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, that there are risks in attending the wedding, and encourage them to stay home if they have the slightest bit of doubts about going to your wedding, especially if they are already sick. Make sure they do not feel bad about missing your wedding.

  • Post the CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines for coronavirus prevention throughout the wedding venue.

  • Provide readily available access to hand sanitizer wherever possible within the venue.

  • Practice and encourage “social distancing” by seating people farther away from each other and spacing out the environment more.

Contact a Wheaton IL Family Law Attorney

With the coronavirus affecting so many people, the threat is real, and it must be taken into consideration with upcoming weddings. If you and your partner are thinking about postponing your wedding and are interested in working on some other legal arrangements for your relationship, contact a DuPage County prenuptial agreement lawyer at 630-871-1002. The consultation is free, and the dynamic team at Andrew Cores Family Law Group will make sure the time it takes for you to wait for the wedding is actually time well spent for your relationship.

Sources:

https://time.com/5801095/coronavirus-weddings/

https://fortune.com/2020/03/12/coronavirus-wedding-cancellations-business-impact-covid-19/

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/03/wedding-plans-coronavirus/607723/

Are There Benefits to Getting a Civil Union Instead of a Marriage?

Wheaton family law attorney for civil unionsIn 2011, Illinois passed into law the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act. This law enabled both same-sex and opposite-sex couples the freedom to enter into a civil union that would give them the same legal rights in Illinois as those provided by marriage. With the new term “civil union” meant to be a substitute for “domestic partnership,” all prior domestic partnerships registered would be honored, but any future similar relationships would be referred to as civil unions.

While civil unions in Illinois were initially meant to help same-sex couples achieve similar legal rights to married couples, these legal partnerships may now be pursued for other reasons. After the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage throughout the United States in 2015, most states converted all domestic partnerships and civil unions to marriages; however, Illinois is one of the few states that kept civil unions despite this legalization. Now that all couples, regardless of sex, can get married, why would anyone choose a civil union instead of a marriage?

Benefits of Civil Unions

Since same-sex marriage is legal across the nation, fewer and fewer people are getting civil unions. However, since civil unions are open to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples, some people are still choosing civil unions over marriages in order to demonstrate their commitment to their romantic partners. Among the benefits of civil unions are:

  • Same Rights in Illinois as Marriage—Overall, civil unions grant partners the same rights and legal protections as married couples in Illinois. However, civil unions are not recognized by federal law. The state rights with civil unions allowed for in Illinois include the following:

    • Equitable division assets and debts upon dissolution—Civil unions can be dissolved in much the same way as married couples can get a divorce. If such dissolution takes place, all property, assets, and debts can be divided equitably between the two partners.

    • Parenting time and parental responsibilities—This is treated the same in Illinois for those in a civil union as it is for those in a marriage, including determining how parents will share custody of the children from the civil union, when children will spend time with each parent, etc.

    • Health insurance coverage—Just as one spouse in a marriage can get health insurance coverage through his/her employer for his/her spouse, so can most partners in civil unions, depending on the employer.

  • Psychological Well-Being—Entering into a civil union can provide emotional benefits for partners. They might be happy to show commitment to one another by entering into such an agreement, but they will not feel restrained by the traditional label of “marriage.” In some cases, couples may prefer to avoid all of the usual trappings of a marriage, such as the wedding planning, the ceremony, and all other major activities that are expected of most married couples.

  • Possible Tax Benefits—One reason a couple may choose a civil union instead of a marriage is the potential tax advantages. While they will have essentially the same rights as a married couple in the state of Illinois, since the federal government does not recognize civil unions in the same way as marriages, the couple in the civil union might be able to avoid the marriage tax penalty. They will be able to pool their income throughout the year without being penalized come tax time by being taxed at a higher income bracket. However, this tax exclusion also means that the couple would not qualify for many federal benefits that married couples can receive.

Contact a Wheaton, IL Civil Union Attorney

If you are thinking about a civil union in Illinois instead of a marriage, consider giving a DuPage County domestic partnership lawyer a call at 630-871-1002 for a free consultation. With the guidance of the knowledgeable team at Andrew Cores Family Law Group, you will fully understand the benefits and drawbacks of a civil union. We will clearly explain all your present and future options, including addressing cohabitation agreements or separation agreements.

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/beltway/2014/06/05/are-domestic-partnerships-a-way-for-heterosexual-couples-to-avoid-the-marriage-tax-penalty/#476ad2fa4d43

https://www.thebalance.com/domestic-partnerships-vs-marriage-what-s-more-financially-beneficial-4172622

5 Reasons Unmarried Couples Should Get a Cohabitation Agreement

Wheaton cohabitation agreement attorneyThere are all sorts of reasons that couples may decide to live together without getting married. They might be opposed to marriage on some moral grounds, they could just want to try living together first before they officially “take the plunge,” or perhaps they simply do not want to deal with all the complications that come with marriage—from an overwhelming wedding to an array of legal and religious considerations. Whatever the case may be, there are plenty of people out there who cohabitate as unmarried partners. Unfortunately, living together does not grant you the same rights you would have as married spouses. In order to have some similar legal protections as you would if you were married, you would need to develop and sign a cohabitation agreement.

Cohabitation Agreement: Defined

A cohabitation agreement is a legal arrangement agreed to by both parties who live together. Couples who feel strongly enough about each other that they decide to live together may run the risk of losing some of the things that are protected through marriage. By signing a cohabitation agreement, a couple can receive similar protections for their property and finances that marriage offers.

Reasons to Get a Cohabitation Agreement
As more couples are cohabiting before or instead of marriage, the idea of cohabitation agreements is becoming more appealing. Here are some major reasons to consider getting a cohabitation agreement if you live with your romantic partner:

  1. Legal Protections—A cohabitation agreement is a way of getting rights similar to a married couple without actually being married. Some couples refuse to get married and might even only be considering marriage due to the legal protections it provides; with a cohabitation agreement, your finances and property will be protected no matter what happens in your relationship and living situation.

  2. Clearly Defined Responsibilities—By signing one of these agreements, you and your partner will be able to fully define your relationship and what is expected from each of you. You will determine who pays for what and who does what through the course of the relationship, ultimately helping you both live better together.

  3. An Objective Plan—By hashing out the details of your relationship and living arrangements while you are clear-headed and highly dedicated to one another, you will be able to develop a plan for your relationship and living arrangements that is both fair and helpful, even if you two decide to break things off.

  4. Who Gets What—This agreement will help you determine who has ownership over what property, including vehicles, houses, or even pets. While together as a romantic couple, you two will probably share ownership of just about everything, but if you ever do break up, it will be good to have the ownership of these things already worked out.

  5. Money Matters—You might be considering commingling your funds in a joint account or taking out loans together. With a cohabitation agreement, you will be able to assign financial obligations such that no matter what happens in your relationship, you both will have the resources you need.

Contact a DuPage County Cohabitation Agreement Lawyer

If you are planning to live together with your partner without getting married, it is worth deliberating on a cohabitation agreement. These legal contracts have the potential to be just as complex as any number of legal concerns related to both marriage and divorce. In order to get the proper guidance, you should enlist the assistance of a knowledgeable Wheaton, IL family law attorney. Give Andrew Cores Family Law Group a call at 630-871-1002 for a free consultation. We will develop an agreement between you and your partner that benefits you both.

Sources:

https://www.dcba.org/mpage/vol201207art2

https://www.isba.org/ibj/2012/06/cohabitationagreementsafterthecivil

https://www.fool.com/the-ascent/banks/articles/do-you-need-cohabitation-agreement-before-moving-in-your-partner/