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How to Dissolve a Domestic Partnership or Civil Union in Illinois

By Nottage and Ward on January 22, 2020

Domestic partnerships and civil unions can be wonderful for couples who wish to enjoy the same benefits as marriage, but who don’t feel the need for a big, blowout wedding or a marriage certificate. Unfortunately, not all relationships last the test of time and it can be difficult to know just how to end a domestic partnership or civil union. Thankfully, Cook County, Illinois has a clear process for each.

How to Dissolve a Domestic Partnership

Domestic partnerships have been sunsetted in Cook County and Chicago since 2011. Meaning, couples living in Cook County may no longer register as domestic partners. However, the registry is still maintained, so couples who entered into a domestic partnership before 2011 still maintain their domestic partnership status. If you are one of those couples and you want to terminate your domestic partner status the process is fairly straight forward.

You can either terminate jointly or individually. If you choose to do it together you must submit an Affidavit of Termination within 30 days of your relationship ending to the clerk of court. You will also have to pay a $30 filing fee. Once the Affidavit is submitted there is a required 30-day waiting period. When the waiting period ends the separation is finalized, and proof of termination can be provided. Be sure to inform any employers, or anyone else who would be affected by the separation.

It is possible to reverse the termination, but it must be done during the 30-day waiting period. You can submit an Affidavit to Rescind Termination to the clerk and the process will be halted.

If you are filing for termination separately, everything is largely the same, excluding one key step. You must be able to provide proof you sent your partner an Affidavit of Termination by registered mail before you file with the clerk.

How to Dissolve a Civil Union

In Illinois, dissolving a civil union is almost the same as dissolving a marriage. To start, you must fill out and file a Petition for Dissolution of a Civil Union. Your partner must be served the petition either by the sheriff or by a private process server.  Once the petition is officially filed, and once your spouse has been notified, the dissolution process has begun.

Similarly to marriage, the length of the process depends on the couple in question and the splitting of assets. A more complicated case or a couple not being on the same page will make the proceedings last longer. But an experienced civil union lawyer at your side will expedite the process.

It is also important to note that in Illinois civil unions can be converted to a marriage. Should a couple wish to remain together, but now prefer marriage over a civil union, all they must do is apply for a marriage certificate and then hold a marriage ceremony within 60 days of the application.

Ending a relationship, whether a domestic partnership, civil union, or marriage can be a difficult and emotional process. Our Chicago family law attorneys at Nottage and Ward, LLP, will be happy to step in and guide you through the process. We have more than 25 years of experience. Get in touch with our firm at (312) 332-2915.

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Posted in: Civil Unions

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