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Domestic Partnership Dissolution Attorneys In Chicago

In day-to-day life, a domestic partnership in Illinois looks the same as a marriage. Whether you are partners or spouses, you live under the same roof, raise your children together and make plans for the future the same way. From the outside, virtually nobody can tell the difference.

But a domestic partnership is not a marriage. Nor is it a civil union, a form of legal partnership extended to same-sex couples before same-sex marriage and domestic partnership became legal in Illinois and the rest of the country. A domestic partnership is similar to a civil union, except that it is not recognized by Illinois law – with certain exceptions.

People who choose a domestic partnership over marriage often do so for personal reasons. They might not hold to traditional views of marriage. Or, they were married before and do not want that type of relationship again, possibly because of a nasty divorce. Others are members of the LGBTQ+ community and do not feel that a traditional marriage is something they want.

At NextLevel Law, P.C., we help people in domestic partnerships end their relationship with compassionate, efficient representation. One of our skilled family law attorneys will advise you of your parental and property rights and help you work toward a reasonable resolution.

What Are The Legal Benefits Available To Unmarried Couples In A Civil Union Or Domestic Partnership In Chicago?

First, you need to know if your relationship was ever formalized. Illinois does not recognize common law marriage, and if you never created a domestic partnership or civil union, separating will resemble a breakup more than a formal divorce proceeding. If you have children, you will need to work out child custody and child support, but property division may largely be a private matter. We can discuss the legal nature of your relationship with you and what to expect.

Along with common law marriage, Illinois does not recognize domestic partnerships – with exceptions for residents of Cook and Champaign counties, and the cities or villages of Chicago, Champaign, Urbana and Oak Park. State employees also may be in a recognized domestic partnership. The state does recognize civil unions and same-sex marriage.

Depending on what form your relationship has, you may be entitled to the following benefits:

  • Coverage on your partner’s work-provided or private health care insurance plan
  • Eligibility for family sick leave if your partner is ill, and bereavement leave if they pass away
  • Filing your income taxes as a single filer, which typically puts you into a lower tax bracket than married couples who must file jointly
  • In some states, the right to inherit your partner’s estate if they die before you
  • In some states, the right to visit your partner in jail or the hospital
  • In some states, the right to make financial and medical decisions on your partner’s behalf if they become incapacitated

There are also a few disadvantages to a non-marriage partnership, such as:

  • Not every federal government agency recognizes civil unions and domestic partnerships.
  • Not being able to file your taxes jointly to the IRS may carry certain disadvantages.
  • Your partner is not eligible for Social Security benefits based on your work history after you die.
  • No automatic inheritance of your partner’s estate. Your partner can name you as their heir in their will (and vice versa), but estate and gift taxes could apply.
  • The value of health insurance benefits extended to an employee’s domestic partner is taxable income.
  • Possible limits on health coverage.
  • Potentially fewer rights of access, decision-making and information about a partner compared to a spouse.

Ending A Domestic Partnership In Illinois

The web of jurisdictions in Illinois that recognize domestic partnerships or do not, and the level of rights that domestic partners enjoy in each place, is highly complex. If you are in the midst of ending your domestic partnership, you need an experienced family law and separation attorney in Chicago to explain exactly what your rights and obligations are regarding property division and your children. NextLevel Law, P.C., is led by founding lawyer Daniel R. Hernandez, who identifies as LGBTQ+ and Latino. He and the rest of our domestic partnership dissolution attorneys will treat you with the respect and lack of judgment you deserve from your legal counsel.

Get Guidance From Domestic Partnership Separation Lawyers In Chicago

To schedule a consultation regarding dissolving your domestic partnership or civil union, please call NextLevel Law, P.C., at 312-530-8002 or use our email form. The firm offers free consultations with one of our dissolution paralegals to answer your general questions and our dissolution attorneys are available for more nuanced guidance. Se habla español.