Parties to a civil union had been legally married in Canada in 2003. One party filed for divorce later in Illinois. They now lived in Illinois. The court ordered the dissolution of their civil union.
There is no retroactive application of the Civil Union Act. Before the Act, the divorce court would not be involved in a dispute about property rights. But, they had been married legally in Canada. It did not matter that Illinois had not recognized civil union marriages.
The court said that the parties’ civil union started on the date it was entered into (in 2002 in Vermont) This was before the 2003 marriage in Canada. The start date to look at assets would not be the date of the Civil Union Act in Illinois (June 1, 2011). So, the court was able to go back further in time to look at the accumulation of assets.
The Trial Court said that one of the parties contributed significantly more to acquisition of civil-union property. The Appellate Court did not agree.
One of the parties had founded an e-cigarette vending company before 2011. It produced significant profits. The Trial Court had awarded this business to that party. But, it should have been divided between the parties. The other party had kept steady full-time employment as an engineer during the civil union. This had allowed the other party to take the entrepreneurial risk of the e cigarette company. Both parties had contributed to the success of the company.
In re Civil Union of Hamlin, 2015 IL App (2d) 140231
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