Chicago Civil Unions Lawyers
With the passing of the "Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act" in December 2010, unmarried, unrelated adults of any sexual orientation who are at least 18 years of age are able to enter into a civil union.
Heterosexual and homosexual couples who enter into civil unions are granted many of the same legal protections and responsibilities that married couples are provided. A civil union in Illinois permits a couple of any sexual orientation to access and execute the many obligations, responsibilities, protections, and benefits given to or acknowledged by Illinois law to spouses. However, civil unions are only applicable on a state level, meaning that couples in a civil union are not provided the same federal rights as married couples.
Civil unions in Illinois will not be granted to ancestors; descendants; two siblings; an uncle and a niece or nephew; an aunt and a niece or nephew; or between first cousins. Individuals are also prohibited from entering into a civil union in Illinois if one person is already a part of a marriage, civil union, or a similar legal relationship that has been established in another state. According to the Illinois General Assembly, if a marriage between two individuals of the same sex, a civil union, or similar legal relationship aside from common law marriage, was legally entered into in another state, it is recognized in Illinois as a civil union.
In entering into a civil union, two individuals will be given property, visitation, and inheritance rights that are provided to married couples in Illinois. Civil unions also provide two individuals the legality to make decisions for one another in the event that a debilitating illness or other literal matters of life and death arise. In providing a couple with legal rights and protections relating to power of attorney and matters of health, civil unions serve as a vital way for people in committed relationships to decide on important issues and ensure that their loved one's wishes are fulfilled and that their rights aren't violated.
The power to make emergency medical decisions and an individual's rights to legal inheritance in a civil union allows committed straight and gay couples to have certain rights without being married.
Civil unions also protect couples on an individual level in the event that the couple would like to end their relationship. For instance, if a couple who has a civil union has purchased property together, there is opportunity for assets to be distributed fairly. In providing legal terms for the dissolution of a civil union under existing laws, the state of Illinois has created an additional way for individuals' rights to be protected through civil unions.
Before entering into a civil union, there is much to consider. While a civil union provides you and your partner with certain rights that you otherwise would not have, ensuring that your best interests are protected through the creation of this legal responsibility is essential. You need to consider the long-term obligations that a civil union will establish. To learn more about your rights and protections within an Illinois civil union, whether you are thinking of entering into a civil union or ending one, contact our Illinois family law lawyers at (312) 332-2915 today.
- How to Dissolve a Domestic Partnership or Civil Union in Illinois
- Now That Gay Marriage is Legal in Illinois, What Becomes of Civil Unions?
- Understanding Civil Unions
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