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How to terminate a domestic partnership in Illinois

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Many couples, either heterosexual or homosexual, elect to enter into domestic partnerships in Illinois each day. They intend to gain rights to either health or life insurance benefits, equal parental rights to shared children, or for any number of reasons. Their right to do so was signed into law as Civil Union Law PA 95-1513 and made effective as of June 1, 2011.

Unfortunately, though, all relationships are not built to last and couples may decide to go their separate ways. Just as a couple was required to register their domestic partnership with their county clerk when they first got together, upon termination of their relationship, couples are required to file the dissolution of their relationship in their county of residence as well.

Either one or both parties to a domestic partnership may file for termination with the clerk of courts. When filing jointly, the pair must submit an Affidavit of Termination within 30-days of the partnership ending and also pay a $30 filing fee. It's important to note that a domestic partnership is not immediately terminated upon filing of this affidavit, but instead requires a 30-day waiting period before it is finalized.

Once finalized, the Clerk can provide proof of the termination. It's important that you immediately notify employers, and any others who may receive benefits as a result of your partnership, that the termination has occurred. Doing so allows allows them to remove you as beneficiary of their services that are generally only reserved for legalized relationships.

In contrast, if you're filing separately, while you'll still fill in the same affidavit and pay the same fee, you will be required to submit proof you've made an attempt to send a notarized copy to your former partner. This can be accomplished by saving your registered mail receipt and submitting it to the court.

Both parties may rescind the affidavit within 30-days of the initial filing by submitting a copy of an Affidavit to Rescind Termination to the clerk. Additionally, couples looking to start a new domestic partnership can do so at the 30-day point as well.

Terminating a domestic partnership is not always as easily done as it may involve child custody and property division issues. In those cases, you may wish to speak with an attorney to discuss your legal matter.

Source: Cook County Clerk's Office, "Terminating a domestic partnership," accessed April 07, 2017

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