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A civil union is a way by which Illinois couples can legally establish their relationship with each other without getting married. Illinois law allows both same-sex and heterosexual couples to enter into a civil union, and while it is not the same thing as a legal marriage, there are things you may need to know about the laws that dictate how civil unions work.

If you are seeking to establish a civil union or dissolve one, you may find it beneficial to seek assistance as you work to protect your rights. A civil union provides rights at a state level, and you may need to know more about your potential entitlements and legal options before you proceed. 

How do civil unions work?

Civil unions do not provide the same benefits and protections as a marriage, yet this is an option for couples who cannot get married or who choose not to at the time. If you are considering this step, it may be helpful for you to understand how this type of union works. The main differences between civil unions and marriages include the following:

  • This arrangement only provides benefits at a state level. This means that certain federal benefits may not be available to either party in a civil union.
  • As this is a union only valid on a state level, it may not be valid upon crossing state lines.
  • Civil unions are beneficial in some cases, but they do not carry the same cultural significance as a marriage. Some consider civil unions unnecessary after the legalization of same-sex marriage.

If it is important to you to formally establish your relationship with your partner, you may consider whether a civil union is the right step for you. Whether you choose to get married, join in a civil union or take other steps to protect your interests, it is always beneficial to fully understand your rights and options.

Choosing the right path for your family law needs

Family law matters can be complex and confusing. You may feel unsure of what you should do to protect yourself or how you can proceed in a way that is best for your family. Regardless of what your concern may be, it is prudent to reach out for experienced guidance as you pursue a beneficial outcome. 

Establishing a civil union, dissolving one or choosing to marry after being in a civil is an important decision, but you do not have to navigate these concerns on your own.