March 21, 2019

Marriage & Civil Unions

Illinois Marriage and Civil Unions Lawyers

Our Guidance In Matters Involving Marriage And Civil Unions

Hurst, Robin, Kay & Allen, LLC, is an experienced team of attorneys who have helped thousands of individuals with divorce and related matters in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. With more than 20 years of experience, the attorneys at our firm pride themselves on offering experienced, personalized and compassionate representation when it comes to matters related to marriage and civil unions.

When possible, we will always try to reach a favorable agreement without putting you through the stress and expense of a court proceeding. However, if it becomes necessary to place a case in the hands of a judge, we will aggressively pursue the outcome that you are seeking with a thoroughly prepared case to present to the court. Though we are highly skilled negotiators, we also provide clients with the aggressive representation that is needed in a highly contested divorce case.

We offer thorough advice and representation in matters such as:

If children are involved, we also work to meet your goals regarding child custody and other parenting issues under Illinois laws. Remember, you only have one shot at your divorce case. If you get it wrong, the consequences can negatively impact you and your children’s lives forever.


A marriage is a legally or formally recognized union of two people as partners in a personal relationship. In the United States and many other countries throughout the world, marriage has historically stated that this union is between a man and a woman but in more progressive places such as the state of Illinois, same-sex marriages are legally binding the same way that more traditional marriages between a man and a woman are. 

Civil Union

In the U.S., a civil union provides a couple with a legal status that is similar to marriage. Prior to 2015 when same same-sex marriage became legal throughout the United States, it was a key way for same-sex couples to get the same protections offered to them as those offered to heterosexual married couples. While many couples have celebrated their civil union in the same way people celebrate a wedding with a fabulous party and festive attire, now only Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, and New Jersey issue new couples this status. 

When same-sex marriages were made legal at the federal level in 2015, some existing civil unions were converted to marriages, however many couples chose to remain in these civil unions. In the states that allow them, many couples still opt to acquire this status rather than that of marriage.

Civil Union Rights

In Illinois and the other states that civil unions are still issued and recognized in, civil unions typically share the following same protections as marriages:

Estate Planning 

When a spouse dies, the other one can inherit their assets without incurring taxes.

Employment Benefits 

A spouse can be covered by the other spouse’s employment benefits such as health 

insurance and the right to take bereavement leave if their spouse passes away.

Healthcare Decisions

A spouse may have the right to make healthcare decisions for their spouse in the event that they are incapable of making them for themselves. As well, a spouse has the same visitation rights as if they were married, if their spouse is sick enough to be in a place that doesn’t allow visitors or where the visiting hours are very limited, etc.

Parental Rights

Spouses may share joint parent rights over their children.

Property Rights

Spouses may co-own property as joint owners and have the same rights as a married 

couple if one passes away.

Alimony Rights 

A spouse may seek alimony if their civil union is dissolved.

Spousal Privilege

A spouse cannot be forced to testify against their spouse in court.


Spouses may file state taxes jointly.

While federal law allows citizens who are of sound mind and 18 years of age and older to get married regardless of their gender or sexual orientation or that of their spouse, a civil union only guarantees the above rights within the state it was granted.

Federal Benefits of Marriage

In addition to all of the rights mentioned above that are given to couples in a civil union, marriage grants couples certain unique rights and protections at the federal level that include:

  • Immigration Rights
  • Social Security Rights
  • Tax Rights
  • Veterans’ Rights

If you need help with any legal matters pertaining to a civil union or a marriage, contact Hurst Robin, Kay & Allen for a free, initial case consultation.

What Is The Legal Age To Get Married?

As a trusted Illinois marriage & civil unions lawyer knows, in Illinois, the legal age to get married without parental consent is 18. However, if you are 16 or 17 years old, you can still get married with the consent of both parents or legal guardians. If you are under 16, you can only get married if a court order is obtained and both parents or legal guardians consent.

What Is The Process For Obtaining A Marriage License?

To obtain a marriage license in Illinois, both parties must appear together at the county clerk’s office. You will need to provide valid identification, such as a driver’s license or passport, and pay the required fee. There is no waiting period, so you can typically get married the same day you obtain the license. The marriage license is valid for 60 days from the date of issuance.

What Are The Legal Requirements For A Valid Marriage Ceremony?

A valid marriage ceremony in Illinois requires the presence of at least one officiant and two witnesses. The officiant can be a judge, clergy member, or any other individual authorized by law to perform marriages. After the ceremony, the officiant and witnesses must sign the marriage license, and the license must be returned to the county clerk’s office for recording.

What Are The Legal Benefits Of Entering Into A Civil Union?

Your trusted Illinois marriage & civil unions lawyer understands that entering into a civil union in Illinois provides couples with several legal benefits and protections. These benefits include:

  1. Property Rights: In a civil union, you have the same property rights as married couples, including the ability to jointly own property, make financial decisions together, and inherit from each other without estate taxes.
  2. Healthcare Decision-Making: You can make medical decisions for your partner and have visitation rights in hospitals and healthcare facilities.
  3. Spousal Health Insurance Coverage: Many employers offer healthcare benefits to the partners in a civil union, extending the same coverage as married couples.
  4. Parental Rights: If you have children together, both partners have legal parental rights and responsibilities, including custody and support arrangements.

Can I Dissolve A Civil Union In Illinois, And What Is The Process?

Yes, you can dissolve a civil union in Illinois through a legal process similar to divorce. You will need to file a petition for dissolution of the civil union, just as you would for divorce. Issues such as property division, child custody, and support will be addressed in the dissolution process. It’s important to consult with an experienced family law attorney to navigate the complexities of dissolving a civil union.

We understand that navigating the legal aspects of marriage and civil unions can be complex. Our experienced lawyers are here to provide you with the guidance and support you need to make informed decisions. If you have more questions or need legal assistance with your marriage or civil union in Illinois, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Hurst, Robin & Kay, LLC. Let us help you ensure that your legal rights are protected throughout the process. Call our Illinois marriage & civil unions lawyer now.

Get Legal Guidance Personalized For Your Own Circumstances

Call today to speak with our lawyers at 312-782-2400, or send an email.