Opposite-sex Couples May Consider Civil Unions in Illinois

The Civil Union Act isn’t just for same-sex couples. Some couples of opposite sexes may benefit more by forming civil unions than by traditional marriage.

Under the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act set to go in effect on June 1, 2011, civil union partners will be granted the same protections, obligations, benefits and responsibilities that are “afforded or recognized by the law of Illinois to spouses”, but civil union partners will not be recognized as spouses under any federal law.

Elderly opposite-sex couples who became companions later in life, and have children from prior relationships, may prefer a civil union. A traditional marriage will likely have a negative effect on their federal benefits such as Social Security, Medicare, federal income taxes, and Veterans benefits. But under the Defense of Marriage Act, a civil union in Illinois will not impact any of these federal benefits.

These opposite-sex civil union partners will be able to keep their federal benefits and also gain Illinois state-level rights, including the right to receive personal medical information about their partner if that partner is incapacitated and the right to make medical and property decisions for an incapacitated partner. Civil union partners will also be able to stay together if they enter an assisted living or nursing home.

If you have any questions about how a civil union in Illinois may benefit you, contact Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC at (847) 253-8800.