Terminating a Domestic Partnership in Illinois
Prior to the 2015 Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage in the United States, many same-sex couples entered into a domestic partnership. However, this term has been sunsetted in Illinois, meaning the laws regarding these relationships have been terminated. Both same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples now have a choice between civil unions and marriage.
If you hold a Domestic Partnership Certificate, you do not automatically qualify for the rights that married spouses enjoy, such as benefits, survivorship, or ownership rights. Your domestic partnership is still a matter of public record, thus maintaining its validity; however, no future Domestic Partnership Certificates will be issued. The term “domestic partnership” now refers to an informal, long-term, committed relationship rather than a legally binding union.
Entering into a Civil Union or Marriage
While same-sex marriage is now legal throughout the United States, some couples do not want to enter into a marriage and opt for a civil union instead. The option is available to same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples alike. The primary difference between civil union and marriage is that a civil union is solely recognized within the state of Illinois, while marriage is federally recognized. According to the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, once you enter into a civil union, you are granted many of the same rights in Illinois as those offered to married spouses. If you opt to enter into a civil union or marriage, any existing domestic partnership automatically terminates without further documentation.
Dissolving a Partnership
If, however, you would like to end the relationship altogether, you may dissolve the existing domestic partnership by completing an Affidavit of Termination. The form does not need to be completed by both parties, but if only one party is present, the absent party must be notified by mail. In addition to filing the form with the County Clerk’s Office, a $30.00 fee is required. Termination is valid 30 days after the official filing date. Unfortunately, a domestic partnership does not offer any of the protections provided through marriage or civil unions.
Dissolution of a Civil Union
As with marriage, you may legally terminate a civil union through dissolution or a declaration of invalidity. The procedure to dissolve a civil union is the same as divorce, with the only difference being the wording. Previously, domestic partnerships did not have the same legal protections.
Ask a DuPage County Domestic Partnership Lawyer
The lines between the domestic partnership, civil unions, and marriage are blurry, and the laws surrounding these type of partnerships continue to evolve each year. If you have questions regarding your rights in any of these relationships or the process of dissolving them, a Wheaton family law attorney can help. At Andrew Cores Family Law Group, we will clarify any questions you may have and aggressively defend your interests should you choose to terminate your relationship. Call our office today at 630-871-1002 to schedule your free, confidential consultation.