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 your same-sex partner won’t be any different from divorcing your 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.