Civil Unions and Same-Sex Marriages in the Chicago area

Family Law Attorneys


For eternity, same sex partners were denied the right to form legal bonds that their heterosexual neighbors had always enjoyed. Millions of citizens had a significant other that they loved dearly, but they were prevented from choosing marriage or a civil union and the benefits that they entail. Fortunately, if you find yourself in this situation, you now have options at your disposal, thanks to the hard work of many and the United States Supreme Court. Civil unions and marriage give a couple access to legal benefits that aren’t available to singles, so let’s take a look at how marriage or civil union can affect the legal and financial aspects of your lives.

The Advantages of Civil Unions or Marriage in the Chicago Area

The following are some of the key reasons to consider a civil union or marriage in the Chicago area:

  • The power to jointly own a property with a partner, with the expectation that properties acquired by either party after (with some exceptions) will become jointly owned
  • Legal protections from losing jointly-owned properties to creditors
  • The power to make healthcare decisions if one partner/spouse lacks the capacity to make the decision on their own
  • The ability to divide property through the state’s intestacy system
  • Pension protection and the ability to recover other forms of financial restitution such as workers’ compensation and wrongful death
  • Property inheritance considerations such as intestacy should you or your partner/spouse pass without a will
  • Potential benefits regarding insurance
  • Joint parental and guardianship rights
  • Joint tax considerations

Differences between Civil Union and Marriages

With so many similarities between civil unions and marriages, you might be wondering how they are different. Though it is true that same-sex marriage has been legal across the United States since the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling by the Supreme Court, some people still opt for civil unions that can later be converted to marriages. Three key differences between marriage and civil unions in Chicago are as follows:

  • Federal advantages and benefits: though partners in a civil union receive a tremendous amount of state benefits, there are still federal benefits that are not granted to those in civil unions.
  • Portability between states: not all states recognize civil unions. In fact, some states converted previous civil unions to marriages once same-sex marriage became legal.
  • Cultural reasons: you must also understand that ‘marriage’ is a term that holds a certain amount of weight in cultural and societal beliefs. Since the Obergefell ruling it isn’t as big of an issue, but some people still see a stark contrast between civil unions and marriages simply because of their terminology.

Seeking Help from a Qualified Legal Professional

Deciding between marriage, civil unions, and other family matters is no easy task if you don’t have the help of a qualified legal representative. Fortunately, the family law attorneys at M. Scott Gordon & Associates can help you with a variety of family law disciplines such as:

Contact M. Scott Gordon & Associates online or call  312.360.0250 for our Chicago office or  847.329.0101 for our Skokie office.

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