Wednesday, June 19, 2013
When Colorado’s civil union law took effect in May, 67 couples received their civil union licenses giving them rights and responsibilities akin to marriage.
Included in these new rights is the ability to cover partners as dependents on health insurance policies issued or renewed in 2014. Also, partners can be named as beneficiaries on life insurance and some pensions. However, federal programs like Social Security are not affected, and tax-free health insurance benefits for spouses are still taxable income for partners in civil unions.
Civil union partners have greater rights when it comes to making medical and financial decisions in the event of incapacity as well as rights to inherit under intestacy. If a civil union exists at the time of conception, “the benefits and responsibilities of the non-biological parent are the same as if the partners were spouses” for most purposes. And if a civil union is dissolved, partners may be obligated to divide assets, provide spousal maintenance, or pay child support.
The Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA as well as future state court rulings stand to raise many legal and financial questions concerning civil unions in the coming years.
See David Gardner, Nothing Simple About Civil Unions, Daily Camera, June 16, 2013.