Relationships can enjoy peaks and valleys of good times and bad. Weathering the storm is not always possible, and marriages or partnerships entered into with the utmost of good faith cannot stand the test of time. Amicable or not, if a relationship ends, the question of how property a couple own or shares will be divided.
In the case of a married couple, dissolutions of marriage proceedings will determine how this is negotiated. If you are a couple in a domestic partnership, not formally married, what do you do? Consulting with a family law attorney upon entering your relationship will help afford each partner protection down the line if the relationship sours.
Civil Union Protections
Much like a prenuptial agreement in which married couples allocate how assets will be distributed in a divorce, your attorney can also craft a document for a domestic partnership to function in the same way. If your relationship has produced children, a civil union agreement will outline what arrangements will take effect and which partner will primarily care for the children and matters of child support.
The rights to enjoy analogous benefits to marriage were conferred to couples in civil unions as of 2011. The Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act provides:
“…persons entering into a civil union [ will benefit from] the obligations, responsibilities, protections, and benefits afforded or recognized by the law of Illinois to spouses.”
In the event of a dissolution, certain provisions of particular sections of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act shall apply to a dissolution of a civil union. As it relates to children of the union is more unclear therefore your civil union attorney will advise you to obtain a determination of parentage as to any children of the relationship so, going forward, important decisions regarding education, health, and general welfare can be made without reservation. Bids for custody or to claim support of your children can be made by either or both biological parents also if parentage is clearly established at the outset.
Skilled legal representation will help you formulate a civil union agreement that will mirror child custody and support issues available to married couples. Careful consideration of certain legal tests will also apply including:
- What is in the best interest of the child;
- The wishes of the child;
- The relationship between each partner and the child;
- An amicable agreement between all parties if possible; and
- Consideration of other matters such as schooling, siblings, and extended family.
Illinois Civil Union Attorneys
Experience and compassion are desirable qualities to have in your attorney. An understanding of the nuances and wrinkles in relationships can help an attorney craft an appropriate agreement incorporating your unique circumstances. The seasoned DuPage County civil union attorneys at Mulyk, Laho & Mack, LLC can carefully draft an agreement that will serve the needs of your family post break-up. If your partnership dissolves in the future, know that you have the protection to move to the next phase if you have a civil union agreement in place. An initial 30-minute complimentary consultation is available to you in our Glen Ellyn, Illinois office or conveniently by telephone.