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Understanding Civil Unions

By Jeffrey Knipmeyer on March 29, 2013

Civil unions are legal contracts between partners that are recognized by a government as conferring some of the rights usually associated with marriages.  In December, 2010, the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act was passed.  Beginning in July, 2011, adults who are not related and who are of any sexual orientation were permitted to enter into a civil union, provided they were at least 18 years old.

The Chicago civil union attorneys at Nottage and Ward want you to understand your rights within civil unions.

Although couples in a civil union do not have the same federal rights as married couples, many of the same rights, benefits, and responsibilities accrue on a state level that married couples have.  This includes the right to legally make decisions for each other if one partner contracts a debilitating illness.  Inheritance, property, and visitation rights provided to married couples may also be provided to those entering into civil unions.

On Thursday, March 21, John Hickenlooper, governor of Colorado, will be signing Senate Bill 11 into law, which makes civil unions legal in the state.  As reported by ontopmag.com and published on March 19, 2013, the bill made it through the Colorado House the prior week in the third attempt at passage.

Republicans who opposed the bill look forward to possible legal challenges.  In The Denver Post, Representative Lori Saine, Republican from Dacono, hoped that the bill would be debated in the future in a court of law.  The Republican was referring to Colorado’s constitutional amendment which defines marriage as a “heterosexual union.”

In Illinois, marriages between two persons of the same sex, civil unions, and similar legal relationships entered into in another state are recognized as civil unions.

At Nottage and Ward, our Chicago civil union attorneys have the experience necessary to guide you through complex financial matters while providing legal advice to couples no matter what their living arrangement may be.  Call (312) 332-2915 or contact us online.  Our experienced professionals have answers to all your family law questions.

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