To end or dissolve a civil union, a couple must rely on the same law that a married couple relies on to dissolve their marriage; they must proceed under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.
What does this mean? In short, divorcing a same-sex partner won’t be any different from divorcing a married spouse. Property acquired during the course of the civil union will be divided according to the same property division laws that apply to marriages; child support and maintenance may be awarded; and any existing prenuptial or pre-civil union agreements will control to the extent that they are applicable and enforceable.
It also means that there is not a set of lawyers who specialize in civil unions and another set of lawyers who specialize in family law or marriage between couples of the opposite sex. Procedurally, the dissolution of a marriage and the dissolution of a civil union will not be distinguishable. Just like the dissolution of marriage process, the dissolution of civil union process will start with a petition for dissolution and end with a judgment for dissolution.
Parties seeking to dissolve their civil unions have access to the same dispute resolution methods as couples seeking a divorce. A civil union may be dissolved through negotiations, collaborative law, mediation, litigation, or a combination of any of the aforementioned processes.
The information we have provided in our divorce services page is largely applicable to the dissolution of civil unions.