Understanding Domestic Partnerships in Illinois

Although highly glorified, the truth is that marriage is not right for everyone. Increasingly, people are choosing to share their lives with a loved one without officially tying the knot. In fact, according to Pew Research, the number of American adults who have never been married is currently at an all time high. Researchers speculate that this is due to a variety of reasons: people are marrying later in life; the societal value of marriage has declined; and couples are comfortable raising children without getting married. Regardless of the reason, couples are choosing to form a domestic partnership and experience the same life events that married couples do without the legal title of marriage.

What is a Domestic Partnership?

A domestic partnership is a relationship between two people who live together and seek the same type of economic and social benefits that married people receive. A couple may choose to refrain from getting married due to differing opinions in religion or because they don’t believe in the institution of marriage in general. However, the couple may still want to adopt children or receive health benefits like a married couple.

In Illinois, a couple has the option of entering into a domestic partnership, civil union or marriage. Although it is possible for unmarried couples that form a domestic partnership to live a normal and happy life without having to get married, it can pose certain challenges.

Domestic Partnership Agreements

One way for an unmarried couple to receive some of the benefits afforded to married couples is to enter into a domestic partnership agreement. A domestic partnership agreement is a contract that outlines some of the legal rights of each partner in the relationship. The following provisions are typically included in a domestic partnership agreement:

  • Issues related to property ownership and the division of assets;
  • Issues related to adoption;
  • Issues related to child custody;
  • Issues related to separation; and
  • Issues related to the transfer of property in the event of a death.

Similar to marriage, it is important for a couple that enters into a domestic partnership to make sure that each partner’s rights are well protected. Thus, it is best to seek the advice of an attorney who specializes in domestic partnerships.

Call an Illinois Domestic Partnership Lawyer Today

If marriage is not right for you and you are contemplating entering into a domestic partnership with a loved one, please consult any one of our experienced DuPage County domestic partnership attorneys at Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C. today. We are well versed in Illinois family law and can help you determine what type of legal course of action is most favorable given your unique situation.