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Understand how a civil union differs from a marriage

Civil unions were more common in the past then what they are now. It is still important that anyone who is considering one in Colorado understand some important points about these arrangements.

First, civil unions do provide you with some specific protections on a state level; however, these unions aren't recognized on a federal level. This means that if you are looking for the same federal status as a married couple, you will need to get married instead of entering into a civil union.

Second, if you legally establish a civil union in Colorado, you will have to take appropriate steps to legally end the union. This is important because you will likely have to divide up property and make decisions similar to those as someone who is going through a divorce.

There is a chance that you might enjoy the benefit of a marriage, including a same-sex marriage, more than what you will enjoy a civil union. This might be beneficial if you are trying to obtain health insurance or other benefits from your significant other. Remember, Colorado can say how state benefits will be impacted by a civil union, but it can't dictate how federal benefits are handled, which means that you might not qualify for Social Security or similar benefits if you are in a civil union.

While each person needs to make his or her own decision about whether a civil union or a marriage is appropriate, everyone should make sure that he or she fully understands what each option entails. This might help you to make the choice that you feel is best for your family.

Source: FindLaw, "Which States Have Civil Unions?," accessed Aug. 31, 2017

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