While civil unions are not legally recognized in every state, many people are fighting for equal rights for the LGBT community. Civil unions help individuals gain some of the benefits of marriage. For instance, couples entering into a civil union may be able to get shared benefits through employers.
In addition, civil unions can help decide issues of inheritance and health care proxies in some states. Some states are even finally beginning to recognize prenuptial agreements as they apply to civil unions. However, these prenuptial agreements can get rather complicated.
Federal laws come into play with these agreements because those in civil unions are not entitled to the same rights as those that enter into marriage. However, couples entering into civil unions can enter into legally binding prenuptial agreements in some states.
In Civil Unions, prenuptial agreements are sometimes refereed to as, pre civil union agreements. However, the ideas and rights provided in both documents are equally legal and binding, depending on the state where the union takes place. For instance, New Jersey recognizes both documents equally. However, prenuptial agreements may not be recognized in a state that does not legally allow civil unions.
In states that do recognize them, they are very similar to all prenuptial agreements. They contain the same information as to distribution of property and assets. However, they cannot allow benefits that are not allowed by state law. While some states grant similar benefits to civil unions and to marriage, others do not.
For example, states may recognize the term of "domestic partnership" which does not grant the same rights as "civil union." However, those states do allow for a domestic partnership agreement, which can also distribute assets and property in the event of separation.
While the United States seems to be slow to recognize the rights of the LGBT community, other countries have been recognizing prenuptial agreements in civil unions for quite awhile. For example, the U.K. has been upholding those documents as legal, for quite sometime.
While the courts may not be obliged to uphold them, they usually do as long as they are fair to both parties. This is interesting considering they have only recently begun to recognize prenuptial agreements in any form. In this case, there are equal rights provided to this entering into civil unions and those entering into marriage.
As more states legally allow civil unions, the need for information on pre-civil union agreements has increased. Most attorneys that work in prenuptial agreements, will also work with pre civil union agreements as long as the document will be legally upheld in that state. In general, the two forms are very similar.
The only items that need extra consideration, are those that fall under federal laws. For example, pensions and tax breaks. However, anyone entering into a civil union in a state that legally allows it, will find that they are also able to enter into a pre-civil union agreement to protect both parties financial interests.