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Civil union dissolution  is part of law

Updated: September 29, 2011 12:48AM



ST. CHARLES — The same law that will allow gay couples to enter a civil union in Illinois will also allow them to divorce.

Stephen Jacobs, partner in the law firm Shaw, Jacobs and Associates, said he believes he is the first attorney in Illinois to file a legal action for dissolution of a same-sex marriage.

The procedure is essentially the same as a divorce, Jacobs said.

He said he was approached a while ago by a Kane County woman hoping to have her marriage dissolved. She entered into the marriage in Massachusetts, where same-sex marriage is legal.

“Previously Illinois would not have recognized their marriage” before the state’s civil union law went into effect Wednesday, he said.

“I’d imagine there’s a lot of people in their situation,” he added.

Still, the new law will create lots of questions, Jacobs said. Property transfers, which may occur during a divorce, are non-taxable events under federal law. But because the federal government doesn’t recognize the marriage or union, they may be taxable, he said.

“If a (gay) couple were to get married in Illinois, buy a house and vehicles together and years later get a divorce, it could create a taxable event under federal law,” he said.

Divisions of pensions and filing joint tax returns will also be complicated by the new law, he said.



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