Can a Couple in a Civil Union Get Divorced in Illinois?

IL family lawyerOriginally instituted as a method by which gay and lesbian couples could get married in Illinois without federal approval, civil unions are now used by a wide variety of people for many reasons. Some couples are simply disinterested in the large ceremonies and expensive receptions that often accompany weddings, and some couples want to solidify their commitment to each other without affecting their federal tax filing status.

Although nobody enters into a civil union expecting that one day the relationship will fall apart, unfortunately, this does happen. Because civil unions are less common than marriages, partners may be left with many questions about how civil relationships come to an end and whether common aspects of divorce - child support, spousal maintenance, child custody issues - apply to them.

How Are Civil Unions Dissolved?

Dissolving a civil union in Illinois is almost the same as ending a marriage. One partner must file a Petition for Dissolution of a Civil Union, the other partner will be served the petition, and then together the partners begin the process of negotiating things like asset division and parental responsibilities.

How long a civil union dissolution takes depends primarily on the partners and how quickly they are able to agree on issues that must be resolved. More complex cases involving high net worth partners, complex asset valuation, or issues of domestic abuse can take longer because the proceedings will likely take more time.

What Issues Must Be Addressed?

Similar to getting divorced at the end of a marriage, before the dissolution of a civil union can be complete, the following issues must be addressed:

  • Asset Division - Partners must come to an equitable agreement regarding shared property. Some property may be sold so the partners can split the proceeds, while other assets may be kept by one partner who “buys out” the other partner’s share. Allocating marital debt is also part of the asset division process. An existing prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can help the asset division process move more quickly.
  • Parental Responsibilities and Parenting Time - Formerly known as “custody” and “visitation” respectively, partners who are separating must address these important arrangements regarding important decision-making responsibilities and parenting time schedules.
  • Child Support - Child support laws in Illinois consider the income of both parents and there is a formula that judges use to make child support decisions. However, judges can deviate from this formula and take into account other factors to achieve what is in the child’s best interest.
  • Spousal Maintenance - Formerly known as “alimony,” spousal maintenance is money paid from one spouse to another to allow them to become self-sustaining following the dissolution of a civil union.

Contact a Hinsdale Divorce Attorney

Whether you are married, in a civil union, or even just long-term partners with children facing a complex breakup, contact an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney with Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio. No matter what your situation looks like, we can help you understand your options and create a roadmap for divorce that protects your interests. Contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation and find out how we can help you. Call us at 630-920-8855.



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