Civil Unions, Cohabitation, and Children

 Aurora family law attorney, cohabitation, divorce reform, DuPage County divorce lawyer, Earned Income Tax Credit, Illinois family law attorney, Marriage and Dissolution Of Marriage Act,  marriage-like commitments welfare benefitsAn increased number of unwed American couples are living together these days, also known as cohabitation. As a result, marriage rates have dropped over the past several years.

And when deciding between cohabitation or a civil union, it is paramount to understand the legal landscape and benefit/cost calculations as they all continue to evolve. It is especially important when children are involved.

The Civil Union Act of 2011 allowed for all couples to create legal protections, and at the time made Illinois one of only a handful of states recognizing this as an alternative protection to marriage. Yet, some may decide against this path because of potential loss of pension, tax advantages, or Social Security benefits. Others may not wish to undertake the full range of commitments that a civil union or a marriage might entail. And a key reality may impede partners from seeking protection: the consequences of an unwed birth.

If a mother remains single and gives birth to a child outside of marriage, she may qualify for medical expenses that would cover the birth via Medicaid. Welfare benefits may be available, as well as subsidized daycare and the Earned Income Tax Credit which could also provide financial assistance.

However, when you step away from single status, you actually risk having these benefits taken away. Former Time Magazine correspondant, Mike McManus notes, “Currently, if a cohabiting couple with a child marries, they lose $20,000 to $25,000 of benefits.” Hence, the current landscape can actually drive people to remain outside of legal protections, but at a greater financial cost to government.

Entering into a cohabitation, civil union, or a marriage is a big decision. The decision is even greater when children are involved. If you have concerns regarding civil unions, cohabitation, or marriage, please contact an Illinois family law attorney for guidance. Call [[phone]] today.

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