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Illinois Divorce Law: Divorce For Same-Sex Couples

Updated on
March 12, 2021
Article written by
Attorney Matthew K. Dorich

In this article we will be reviewing How to Get a Divorce for Same-Sex Couples inIllinois and we will answer the questions of:

  • What is the Divorce Process?
  • Are There Any Changes in the Divorce Process for Same-Sex Couples?
  • What Happens After Filing the Petition for Divorce?
  • What Type of Issues Will the Court Be Addressing in My Divorce?
  • What Happens if We Have Children Together?
  • Are There Any Issues That Are Unique to a Same-Sex Divorce?
  • What If I am Not on the Birth Certificate and Never Adopted the Child?

Illinois recognizes and has legalized same-sex marriage. This legalization allows for the same rights and protections afforded to traditional couples. With same-sex couples afforded the right to marry, undoubtedly there will also be divorces bound to happen. Read more about how divorce law applies to same-sex couples in Illinois.

What is the Divorce Process?

The divorce process remains the same for all marriages within the State of Illinois. Assuming that the jurisdictional requirements are met, either party may choose to initiate a divorce proceeding within the appropriate circuit court. All divorces in Illinois are based on irreconcilable differences and the process begins with the filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.

Are There Any Changes in the Divorce Process for Same-Sex Couples?

No.All marriages and divorce proceedings are conducted under the exact same procedures and statutes. Outside of the law which legalizes same-sex marriages, other rules, procedures, and laws are the same for same-sex and heterosexual spouses. There are no additional protections or requirements that a same-sex couple needs to be concerned with in the divorce process.

What Happens After Filing the Petition for Divorce?

After one spouse files their petition for dissolution of marriage, it must be served upon the other party. After service is completed, the non-filing party must file their answer and appearance. Once both parties are active in the case, it is time to determine if there can be a settlement worked out or if this will be a heavily litigated divorce proceeding.

What Type of Issues Will the Court Be Addressing in My Divorce?

Divorces generally deal with severing the parties financial connections to each other.As such, all property ownership, financial accounts, retirement accounts, debts, and assets will be addressed by the Court.

What Happens if We Have Children Together?

In the event that you have children shared as a product of the marriage, it will be necessary to create a parenting plan and allocation judgment to determine each parent’s rights and responsibilities towards the children moving forward.You will also need to determine a child support and contribution arrangement for the child(ren) of the marriage.

Are There Any Issues That Are Unique to a Same-Sex Divorce?

The most unique issue for same-sex couples is likely the issue of parentage for children of the marriage. For a traditional couple, it is easy enough to determine the biological parents that are involved in the matter. The general rule remains the same that any child born of or adopted into the marriage is presumed to be the child of the parties. However, should a contest related to parentage arise, that can be significantly more complicated than a traditional parenting determination.

What If I am Not on the Birth Certificate and Never Adopted the Child?

If you were not on the birth certificate of a child of the marriage and never took the steps to adopt a child of the marriage, you may be able to sign a VoluntaryAcknowledgement of Parentage to establish your initial rights to the minor child(ren). This document will traditionally solve any issues related to parentage, however if the other party is contesting your parentage claim or a biological (donor) entity is making a parentage claim there is not a simple answer on how to address that issue. The matter will likely be determined by the arrangements and contracts that were established prior to the birth/adoption of the child(ren) so it is important to ensure that paperwork is in order and a copy is in your possession if this is a situation that you are at risk of encountering.

Illinois Divorce Law: Divorce For Same-Sex Couples
Author

Attorney Matthew K. Dorich

Matt's practice is focused on family law, real estate transactions, civil litigation, estate planning, and business law issues.

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