The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

Yorkville Office By Appointment

Initial Consultations via ZOOM Available

The Difference Between Marriage and a Civil Union

Posted on in Illinois Civil Union

The Difference Between Marriage and a Civil Union,family law, illinois civil union, marriage, division of property, child custodySpending a lifetime with our loved ones is a beautiful thought. Thinking about what kind of house you are going to buy, if you are going to have children, maybe even pets can bring warm and fuzzy feelings into your heart. Many people consider marriage as a way to solidify their connection with their loved one. However, that is not the only option. Civil Unions are a less common way to create a binding union between loved ones.

What is a Civil Union?

A civil union is a legal status much like a marriage. Civil unions provide many of the same legal protections that marriage does. One key difference, however, is the legal protections exist at the state level. Federal protections like tax breaks and Social Security benefits are not built into a civil union the way they are a marriage.

While marriage is recognized in all 50 states, civil unions are not. The only states that currently recognize civil unions are Illinois, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Colorado.

We are in a Civil Union; We are Basically Married, Right?

Not exactly. While civil unions do offer many of the legal protections available at the state level for married couples, there are still substantial differences in the eyes of the law between a civil union and a marriage. For example marriage offers:

  • Legal recognition in all 50 states
  • Divorce in the state the couple lives, not just where they were married
  • Federal tax benefits
  • Immigration benefits
  • Life insurance benefits

There are ways that people who wish to enter into a civil union can give themselves some of the protections that marriage provides. For example, you can execute a healthcare or financial power of attorney if you and your partner are going to travel to a state or country where civil unions are not recognized.

Can you Dissolve a Civil Union?

Yes. Dissolving a civil union has a legal process much like that of dissolving a marriage. Illinois courts will be able to

If you live in another state and you enter into a civil union, Illinois law is going to govern a dissolution should you want to terminate your civil union.

Make Sure You Are Protected

Civil unions much like marriages can be beautiful. However, if the need comes up for you to dissolve a civil union, make sure you have the advice and guidance of a DuPage County civil union attorney. The Law Offices of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. has over a decade of experience providing compassionate and thorough legal representation to clients with their civil union issues. Contact our Aurora office at 630-409-8184 for an initial consultation.


The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
Back to Top