Now That You Are Married

What is the process if we want to change our last names?
First, indicate your desire to change your name on the marriage license forms. Then, once certified, you can update your name on the following forms:

Illinois Driver’s License – The Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles will permit a person to change the name on his or her driver’s license with evidence linking the change from the previous information to the new information (such evidence may be your marriage certificate).

To request the change, you must visit a DMV facility to apply for a corrected license. A certified copy of your marriage certificate should be sufficient. The fee to apply for a corrected license is $5. Find out more information here at the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office.

Passport – The Department of State recognizes name changes that are permitted under state law for purposes of changing a person’s name on a passport. To request the change, you must complete Form 5504 (if his or her passport was issued less than one year prior) or Form DS-82 (if his or her passport was issued more than one year prior). These are the same forms that are generally used for passport renewals. You must also provide evidence verifying his or her name change on a form of state identification (such as an Illinois driver’s license) and a certified copy of his or her Illinois marriage certificate, as well as other forms of identification generally required to renew a passport. The fees are the same as those for passport renewals.

Social Security – To request the change, a person must complete Form SS-5 to apply for a new social security card. Although not explicitly stated, the Illinois individual most likely will have to provide a certified copy of his or her Illinois marriage certificate, as well as other forms of identification generally required to apply for a social security card. There is no fee.

Will my marriage to my same-sex spouse be recognized in other states?
In most cases, no. However, a marriage entered into in Illinois may be recognized in some states and jurisdictions that recognize same-sex marriage, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Washington, DC. Additionally, all states may be required to recognize same-sex marriages entered into legally in other states if and when Article 2 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is repealed. Marriage laws are changing at a rapid pace, so you should consult the laws of the state where you move to determine whether that state will recognize your Illinois marriage.

If we are married, will we still be in a civil union?
No. If you convert your civil union to a marriage, your civil union is legally converted into marriage that is deemed effective on the date you solemnized your civil union. Therefore, you are no longer deemed to be in a civil union, but rather you are in a marriage.

What happens if we enter into a marriage and our relationship later ends?
If you get married in Illinois and your relationship later ends, your marriage must be dissolved by a state court in order to end your legal relationship with your spouse. If you and/or your spouse move to another state after getting married in Illinois, the courts of that state may dissolve your marriage. If your marriage cannot be dissolved by the courts in the state of your residence, your marriage can be dissolved by an Illinois state court.

The dissolution of same-sex marriage follows the same procedures and is subject to the same rights and obligations that are involved in the dissolution of different sex marriages.

Illinois law will dissolve your marriage if you either establish grounds for dissolving the marriage or if you and your spouse have lived apart for at least two years and can establish that your marriage must be dissolved due to irreconcilable differences. If both you and your partner attest to the court that your marriage needs to be dissolved due to irreconcilable differences, the court may only require you to have lived apart for a period of six months in order to dissolve the marriage.

If you do not dissolve your marriage when your relationship ends, your legal relationship with your spouse will continue. You and your spouse will continue to have certain legal responsibilities to each other and neither of you can enter into a marriage or another civil union or substantially similar legal relationship until the marriage is dissolved.

Can I cover my same-sex spouse under health insurance and other benefits provided by my employer?
Your employer is not required to allow you to enroll your same-sex spouse in any benefit plans, unless your employer allows other employees to enroll their spouses. However, Illinois employers are required to offer equal benefits to all employees with same-sex or different-sex spouses.

Are benefits that my employer provides to my same-sex spouse taxable?
No, neither the federal government nor the state of Illinois will tax you on the value of health benefits your employer provides to your spouse.

Can my spouse and I file jointly for federal income tax purposes?
Yes. Because marriages between persons of the same sex are now recognized under federal law, same-sex spouses are permitted to file joint federal income tax returns or to claim tax credits or protections that the federal government affords to different-sex married spouses.

Can my spouse and I file jointly for Illinois state income tax purposes?
The Illinois Income Tax Act provides that spouses are eligible to file a joint income tax return in Illinois. For more information, please consult your tax professional.

Now that we’re married, do we still have to perform a second parent adoption to secure our child’s parent-child relationship to the non-biological parent?
Even though married parents are both presumed to be parents of children born into the marriage, we still strongly encourage non-biological parents to perform adoptions in addition to drawing up wills and powers of attorney, since you may travel to states that do not respect your marriage or the legal presumption of parentage it creates.

Will my same-sex spouse inherit my possessions after I die?
If you live in Illinois, die without a will, and you do not have any children, your spouse will inherit all of your possessions. If you have children and you die without a will, your spouse will inherit half of your possessions and the other half will be divided amongst your children.

If you die with a will, your spouse has the right to renounce what you leave him or her in your will and will be entitled to half of your estate if you have no children. If you have children, your spouse can renounce what you leave to him or her in your will and will be entitled to one-third of your estate.

Your spouse will also have a right to certain financial protection while your estate is being settled following your death. Your spouse is entitled to a portion of the assets of your estate that an Illinois court determines is reasonable to support your spouse during the first nine months after you die. In addition, if you and your spouse have children, the court will include additional money to enable your spouse to support your children for up to nine months following your death while your estate is being settled.