Category General Information

Civil Unions in Illinois

In Illinois, a civil union is a legal relationship that provides the couple with substantially the same obligations, protections, and benefits given to married couples. A civil union, however, is not a marriage.  Currently, Illinois recognizes marriage as only between a man and a woman.  A marriage performed in another state between same sex parties is void in Illinois, however, that marriage will be recognized as a civil union within Illinois.

A civil union is created and dissolved in the same manner as a marriage and divorce.  Persons seeking to establish a civil union must file an application with the county clerk and pay the applicable fees.  Similar to a marriage license, a civil union license will then be issued.  The civil union license permits the couple to establish the civil union within 60 days. Upon establishing the civil union, a certificate should be completed by the officiate and returned to the clerk’s office within 10 days.

If a party wishes to dissolve the civil union, that party must file a petition in the circuit court and the proceeding will be governed by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.

There are unique issues within civil unions and the dissolution of civil unions that require close review and/or expert consultation.  Examples of some issues that should be carefully considered are:

1.  Impact on real property, title insurance, title clearance,

2.  Identifying parties on deeds, mortgages and other recorded documents,

3.  Differing State vs. Federal tax consequences,

4.  Premarital agreements and validity in states that do not recognize civil unions,

5.  Differing requirements for birth certificates and/or adoption of a child by two women vs. two men,

6.  Property division and capital gains,

7.  Division of qualified retirement plans.

An experienced family law attorney and divorce attorney will help the parties of a civil union navigate their way through the establishment and/or dissolution of a civil union.



World Trade Center Memorial at College of DuPage

On September 27, 2011, I attended the Homeland Security Education Center (“HEC”) Dedication at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL.  The HEC is a 65,000 square foot building that houses classrooms for students earning degrees or certificates in programs such as Criminal Justice or Fire Science.  It is also used as a multi-jurisdictional training center for the College’s Police Department and regional and national emergency first response agencies.

One of the many great things included in the HEC building is the World Trade Center Memorial.  The College of DuPage was one of few that received part of a beam from the World Trade Centers.  A wonderful video captured the day the beam was delivered and installed, and last night, it was honored by all.


New Financial Disclosure Statement

On September 20, 2011, the Honorable Linda E. Davenport presented to the DCBA’s Family Law Committee the new Financial Disclosure Statement.  It is the end result of many years of collaboration and hard work. The new Financial Disclosure Statement was prepared to resolve the inconsistencies between the various counties of Illinois that require a Financial Disclosure Statement.  Some counties did not/do not have such a requirement contained in their respective Local Court Rules, however soon all counties in Illinois will use the new form.

The new Financial Disclosure Statement is expected to be a statewide form once it is approved by the Illinois Supreme Court. And when approved, parties of a domestic relation (family law) case in all counties of Illinois will need to comply, complete, and exchange a Financial Disclosure Statement.  The new form can be found on the DuPage County Clerk of the Circuit Court’s website:


Holiday Visitation

The holiday season is about to begin! This is a great time to contact your mediator to schedule an appointment to discuss the upcoming holiday schedule.
Why is this important? A few reasons. The Courts do not, I repeat, do not like to receive an “emergency motion to modify holiday visitation”. I have heard judges inform litigants that the holidays come each and every year and therefore waiting until the last minute to schedule or resolve holiday visits does not constitute an “emergency.”
Utilizing mediation at the begining of the holiday season not only saves you money (as the fees will be drastically cheaper than calling an attorney to draft a pleading and appear in court) it also helps families approach the holiday season with a bit less stress than usual.
The holidays should be a time to enjoy your family and to give thanks for your family. Mediation can help families keep that positive outlook. In mediation, families work out their issues in a neutral encouraging environment and thus the holiday season can start on a positive note.
Annual meetings with a mediator is a great way to monitor the progress of your children and family. As the children grow, so do the issues that need to be resolved. Developing a positive attitude about your family’s transitions and the ability to resolve issues respectfully will help you nurture your family and teach your children valuable lessons about resolving disputes amicably.