Civil Unions & Parental Rights

How does a civil union affect parental rights?

To be sure that both partners in a civil union have legally enforceable parental rights to your children, the partner who is neither a biological nor an adoptive parent should enter into a second-parent adoption. This is the only way to be certain that both parents’ legal relationships with your children are recognized in Illinois, by the federal government, and outside of Illinois when you are traveling or if you move.

The protections offered you and your partner by a civil union, such as pension and inheritance protections, may benefit your children. There may be other ways in which entering into a civil union will help your children. But to protect your parental relationship, you must make sure that both you and your partner are related as a biological or an adoptive parent to your child. If your parental rights are challenged – whether or not you and your partner have entered into a civil union – please contact the ACLU of Illinois.