Tag Archives: cohabitation agreements

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.




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.





Cohabitation Agreements in Illinois

cohabitation, Wheaton family law attorneysIt has been a source of confusion to the older generation that many young people in the United States have chosen either to not marry or to wait on marriage until later in life. It is true that there are some advantages to marrying aside from the obvious ones, such as streamlined tax preparation, but for many, there are perks to remaining single. Besides, many argue that they can obtain the best of both worlds via cohabitation, as long as an appropriate cohabitation agreement is signed and executed, so that both partners’ assets and rights are protected.

Do I Need A Cohabitation Agreement?

Not every cohabitating couple needs an agreement. Some do quite well without any kind of legal documentation of their relationship. The tradeoff, however, is that no assets of any kind may commingle, and one has no legal recourse regarding their partner’s assets if they predecease the other. Illinois does not recognize cohabitating couples as having any kind of legal relationship unless they have a valid cohabitation agreement. While being married may not be a couple’s first choice, if they want any legal rights to the fruits of their relationship, they must take definitive action.

Many Illinois couples that choose to cohabitate do, in fact, execute a cohabitation agreement, because certain common situations affect many of them. Examples include owning real property together (in both parties’ names), having children and wanting to set down parental roles in writing, and estate planning needs such as naming one’s partner as executor. Since many of these situations are covered in statutory law when it comes to married couples, a couple that prefers to cohabitate must specifically delineate them in their agreement.

Be Careful Not to Lose Your Spousal Support

One major potential pitfall regarding cohabitation is that under Illinois law, a person who is cohabiting with someone else (not necessarily in a romantic fashion) after a divorce may be deemed to be receiving support from them. This determination terminates any spousal support that the person was being paid as a result of the divorce.

The key phrase in the relevant law is that a cohabitation will likely be found to exist if the two people are living together on a “resident, continuing, conjugal basis.” If two people are not living together, there is no cohabitation. If the two people live together only sporadically, there is no cohabitation. Keep in mind that the word “conjugal” has several definitions, and whether or not it applies in any given case is usually decided specifically for that case. Certain actions like sharing bank accounts and other finances, taking vacations together or naming each other on insurance policies or wills generally tip most courts toward deciding in favor of cohabitation, but each situation is different.

Have Questions About Cohabitation?

Relatively few couples chose to cohabitate instead of marry until perhaps the last decade or so, but the trend continues to rise. If you and your partner have chosen to cohabitate rather than wed, it is important to ensure your assets and legal rights are protected. Our dedicated DuPage County cohabitation attorneys can sit down with you and help answer your questions. Call us today to set up an appointment.