The Chicago Family Law Blog

Domestic Partnership in Chicago

Not all romantically involved couples who share the same address for an extended period of time get married. These individuals usually referred to as domestic partners. Both the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois extend employment benefits (such as health insurance or family leave) to their employees’ domestic partners, as do some private companies. Laws that apply to domestic partners often benefit homosexual couples who live in states that do not recognize same-sex marriage. To become domestic partners under the eyes of the law, committed couples must register at a government office.

Because of its significance among same-sex couples, domestic partnership is an evolving and sometimes controversial area of law. Experienced Chicago Family Law Attorneys are equipped to help you assert your rights and privileges as domestic partners.

Recently in Domestic Partnership Category

Gay Marriages Legal in All Counties: Illinois Atty. Gen.

Illinois' Attorney General Lisa Madigan stated in a letter that county clerks across the state are now allowed to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The letter was addressed to the Macon County Clerk after he wrote to Madigan's office regarding a court ruling in Cook County. Since this ruling, Cook County immediately began issuing marriage licenses, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Following the attorney general's letter, the Cook County court's ruling applies to the entire state.

The State of Civil Unions in Illinois

Illinois' House of Representatives failed to vote last week on the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which would have granted Illinois same-sex couples the right to marry, reports the Chicago Tribune.

While some Illinois lawmakers are vowing to raise the issue again later this year, same-sex and opposite-sex couples can still gain legal rights by entering into Illinois civil unions.

Could Illinois' Gay Marriage Debate Be Trumped by SCOTUS?

The push for marriage equality has hit Illinois once again, with proponents reintroducing a bill earlier this week that would recognize gay marriage. Previous attempts have failed to produce much more than the separate-but-almost-equal civil union arrangement. Should the bill pass as written, Illinois would become the eleventh state to recognize same-sex marriage.

In other words, whether you are for it or against it, this is potentially a very monumental piece of legislation. But the debate could become completely irrelevant in a matter of months.


Alvarez Admits Gay Marriage Ban is Unconstitutional; Parallels CA

Something odd happened yesterday. Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, whose job it is to defend the laws of the State of Illinois, conceded in court documents that the law banning gay marriage was wrong and violated the state constitution’s Equal Protection clause, reports the Chicago Tribune.

“No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law nor be denied the equal protection of the laws.”

Want to be a Dad? Illinois Adoption for Same Sex Parents

What's a better way to mark Father's Day than to discuss families with two fathers? And for same-sex couples with two mothers, this information applies to you equally. Illinois is same-sex friendly when it comes to adoption and recent efforts to change that have failed.

Adoption agencies are required to consider only what is best for the child. They cannot take the parents' sexuality into consideration. This is what led to the Catholic Charities litigation, with ended with the Catholic Charities losing in court and closing up shop.

Separate is Unequal: Illinois Gay Marriage Ban Challenged

Just a year ago, Illinois passed a bill allowing same-sex Civil Unions. The law gave gay couples the same rights under the law as straight couples, except the right to inherit property and the power to decide medical treatment. Nevertheless, it was seen as progress for the gay rights movement and a step towards "mandating gay marriage" from those opposed to marital equality.

Now, according to CBS News, sixteen couples have joined together to challenge the language in Illinois law that prohibits gay marriage.

Opposite Sex Civil Unions in Illinois

More and more couples eligible to get married in Illinois are eschewing that right and choosing to enter a civil union instead. As you may already know, only opposite sex couples are allowed to legally marry in Illinois. Same-sex couples do not have this option and must enter into a civil union instead.

While civil union and marriage may be similar, they are not identical. And to show their solidarity with same-sex couples, opposite sex civil unions have been on the rise, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

Benefits of Gay Marriage: Lesbian Widow Battles In-Laws

The benefits of gay marriage were brought up in a complicated series of lawsuits over a deceased law partner’s profit sharing benefits.

Sarah Farley was a partner at the law firm Cozen O’Connor’s Chicago office when she died, reports the Philadelphia Daily News. Farley left behind $40,820 in the firm’s profit-sharing plan at death and her lesbian wife, Jennifer Tobits, and her parents are now battling it out over who will receive the benefits.

One Month of Illinois Civil Unions

It’s already been over a month since Illinois civil unions law went into effect. On June 1st, same-sex couples were allowed to enter into civil unions where they could receive many of the same benefits as married couples.

Now, the Cook County Clerk has issued some statistics on civil unions during that first month, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. According to the report, 831 couples entered into a civil union in June. The first day, June 1st, was the busiest day as 209 union licenses were issued. On average, 30 same-sex couples entered into a union each day for the remainder of the month.

Gov. Quinn Cuts Illinois Foster Care to Catholic Charities

Governor Pat Quinn cut Illinois foster care contracts with Catholic Charities over the ongoing dispute of adopting to same-sex couples in civil unions.

Last month, the state passed the new civil union law that gives same-sex couples many of the same rights as married couples; including, the right to adopt children.

Catholic Charities, who cares for about 2,000 state wards, refused to recognize the new law and insisted that it did not have to adopt to same-sex couples in apparent violation of the law.