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Predicting the Impact of New Civil Union Legislation in Illinois

By Nottage and Ward on February 15, 2011

The “Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act” has been approved and the new Illinois civil union legislation will be effective starting June 1, 2011. However, as a Courier-News article points out, the exact impact and implementation of the new civil union law is not as clear.

As county registrars and county clerks begin preparations surrounding the distribution of civil union licenses, it is expected that civil unions will create more work for some offices and employees, although the exact change in workload is uncertain.

The new law will present more responsibility to those who decide to enter into a civil union agreement, regardless of whether the couple is of the same or opposite sex. It is important for those couples who are considering a civil union to recognize that this legal commitment not only gives them many of the same legal rights as married people, but it also presents similar legal issues, such as the prospect of a divorce in the event that a couple would like to end their civil union.

Civil Unions will grant non-married couples the right to see their sick partner in the hospital, control the disposition of their deceased partner’s remains, and make medical decisions for their partner. Civil unions will be available to any couple in a committed relationship involving two individuals who are 18-years-old or older, not married, not currently in a civil union, and not related. The new civil union law will also ensure that religious institutions can define marriage based on their own accord.

Before making such a major decision as entering into a civil union in Illinois, you may find it helpful to speak with the Illinois civil union lawyers at Nottage and Ward. With over 20 years of experience in divorce and family law, we know the ins and outs of how vital financial and legal matters tie into civil unions and other family law matters. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.

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