Civil Unions in Illinois

In Illinois, under the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, two people, regardless of gender, can be legally united in a civil union. The state of Illinois grants the same rights, responsibilities, protections and benefits to both married couples and those in a civil union. However, a civil union is not federally recognized, and not all states will recognize an Illinois civil union.

 What is unique about the Illinois Civil Union Act is that it allows both same sex and opposite sex couples to enter a civil union. Some couples may choose a civil union over a marriage for several reasons. A civil union is not federally recognized, so if one partner is receiving social security, retirement or health benefits, a civil union will allow them to continue receiving aid. It is important to discuss legal and financial ramifications of a marriage vs. a civil union with your family law attorney before making a decision.

Any Illinois citizens who are over 18 years of age, not already in a marriage, civil union or other similar legal relationship, and who are not closely related to each other can enter into a civil union.

Rights and Responsibilities Granted in an Illinois Civil Union

Like married couples in Illinois, those in a civil union have certain legal rights and responsibilities granted by the state.

  • The ability to own joint property. This also means that property obtained by either partner after entering into a civil union is the property of both partners;
  • Certain protection from losing joint property to creditors;
  • Rights to make medical decisions for one another if either partner is unable to do so;
  • The right to privileged conversations and the right not to testify against one another in court;
  • Workers compensation benefits if either partner is injured or killed at work.

If you would like to know more about entering into an Illinois civil union or about the benefits and entitlements that are involved in a civil union, contact an Aurora family law attorney today.

 

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