This is a year of great change for same-sex couples in Illinois and across the United States. In June 2014, same-sex marriage finally became legal and paved the way for married couples of the same sex to generally enjoy the same protections and rights to medical, insurance, tax, and other benefits as opposite-sex married couples enjoy.
While civil unions have been legal in Illinois since 2011, and many rights were gained at that time, couples now converting their civil unions to marriage licenses look forward to the possibility of less paperwork, less hassle, and even more secure futures.
With more than 646,000 same-sex couple households—115,000 with children—in the US, according to the 2010 Census Bureau statistics, and only an estimated 72,000 total marriage licenses documented by 2013, same-sex marriage is certain to see an explosive increase in the not-too-distant future. These statistics all point to an increased need for family law services that were either once not available or just not readily available, including legal guidance on living trusts, wills, powers of attorney, advance directives, pre-nuptial agreements, post-nuptial agreements, and even divorce agreements.
Because same-sex marriage is not recognized in every state, tax laws are less than perfect. And, as laws related to same-sex marriage continue to rapidly change throughout the United States, so too will the tax landscape and other related precedents in the courts. This gives attorneys and accountants who provide services to same-sex couples much to stay on top of as the demand for their expertise will rise.