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Civil Unions

These practice area statements are provided by the attorneys from Murphy & Dunn and represent their thoughts on practicing law over the past 36 years in family law. They are not legal advice. They are a general overview of the law, with specific statutes cited for your review, and opinions on how they generally apply in divorce cases in Illinois. Each and every case is different.

To learn more, and to see if the attorneys and staff at Murphy & Dunn, P.C. can help you, please visit our Contact page to schedule your free initial consultation.

Our team of Peoria and Bloomington family law attorneys is well-known and respected as the best family law practice throughout Central Illinois, with specialized experience in civil unions. We offer FREE initial consultations to review your situation and potential path to a favorable resolution.



In Illinois, the civil union statute was passed prior to gay couples being allowed to marry and became effective on June 1, 2011. Subsequent thereto, gay couples were allowed to marry in Illinois so the civil union statute is now seldom used or applicable. It does, however, apply to not only same sex situations, but also to opposite sex couples.

Civil union means a legal relationship between two persons,  who are either the same sex or the opposite sex, established under the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act. 750 ILCS 75/1 et seq. Those individuals in a civil union are entitled to the same legal obligations, responsibilities, protections, and benefits as are afforded any spouse or married couple in Illinois.  A civil union can also be converted into a marriage if the parties desire to do so.

When those who enter into a civil union wish to terminate this relationship, a Judgment for Dissolution of Civil Union must be entered into with the court. A dissolution of a civil union is similar to a divorce and generally would involve child related issues, assets and debt distribution, and income issues. It also requires similar pleadings be filed, grounds be established, and is subject to the same laws as set forth in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.

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