St. Charles Divorce Attorney for Same-Sex Couples

Divorce Lawyers for LGBTQ Couples in Kane County, IL

Same-sex couples have been able to establish civil unions in Illinois since June 2011 and to marry in the state since June 2014, even before same-sex marriage became legal nationwide in June 2015. Today, same-sex couples have the same rights and obligations in marriage, parenting, and divorce as opposite-sex couples. Nonetheless, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, and queer (LGBTQ) couples still face some unique legal concerns during the divorce process, and they must be careful to select an attorney who is familiar with these issues.

At Goostree Law Group, we approach all of our clients, couples, and families with equal compassion and concern. You can be assured that you will be treated with dignity and respect at our firm.

Our practice is primarily focused on divorce and family law. Our attorneys have an average of 15 years of experience in these matters. Thus, we are well versed in the most recent Illinois laws and court rulings on marriage, parenting, paternity, and divorce law that affect all types of couples and families. We have the knowledge and skill to handle even the most complicated divorce cases. You can rely on us to advocate forcefully for your rights and interests in a dissolution of marriage proceeding.

Divorce Issues for LGBTQ Couples

The attorneys of Goostree Law Group are well aware of the unique issues that LGBTQ couples may face during a divorce, such as:

Civil Union vs. Marriage

Today, under Illinois law, a couple in a civil union has the same rights and obligations as a married couple. If they desire, a couple in a civil union can have their legal relationship converted to a marriage simply by obtaining a marriage license, solemnizing the marriage in a civil or religious ceremony in that county, and registering the marriage with the county clerk. If a couple in a civil union wants to break up permanently, they must go through the same legal process that a married couple must go through. A civil union dissolution will involve many of the same issues as a dissolution of marriage, aka a divorce.

Duration of Marriage (or Civil Union)

When a couple divorces, the date of the marriage and the length of the marriage play an important role in several aspects of a divorce settlement, including:

This can be a problem for a same-sex couple who lived together for many years before being able to form a civil union or legally marry. For example, they may have bought property together and commingled their finances before their marriage, which can make it more difficult to distinguish premarital assets from marital assets.

The experienced attorneys of Goostree Law Group will work closely with you to document your finances over time and create a fair differentiation of premarital vs. marital assets and debts. No matter how complex your finances may be, our careful attention to detail will ensure that you receive your fair share in the final settlement.

Negotiation is generally the best course in these situations. If a judge is required to decide these issues, the judge could stick to the letter of the law regarding the duration of the marriage. However, the judge could also use their discretion to factor in the length of a couple's relationship prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage. The law allows the court to consider "all relevant factors" in making "just and equitable" decisions about marital property and maintenance.

Parent-Child Relationships

The Illinois Parentage Act of 2015 (750 ILCS 46) defines the various ways that a parent-child relationship can be legally established. For example, in a marriage of two women, if one woman gives birth to a child during the marriage, the two married women are presumed to be the child's parents. In a marriage of two men, each man's parentage of a child can be established via biological parentage, adoption, or a valid gestational surrogacy agreement. The attorneys of Goostree Law Group can help you with any issues related to establishing paternity or parentage.

Child Custody and Visitation, aka Decision-Making Authority and Parenting Time

When partners have been raising a child together, but only one is the child's legal parent, the other partner (the stepparent) will have no parental rights following a divorce. For example, if the child has a second legal parent who was unwilling to relinquish their parental rights, the stepparent would not be able to adopt the child or otherwise establish legal parentage of the child, as Illinois law only recognizes two legal parents of a child.

Illinois divorce law does, however, provide for visitation and electronic communication with a minor child by certain non-parents, including stepparents and stepsiblings (750 ILCS 5/602.9). A stepparent may file a petition with the court requesting visitation with the child if (1) one of the child's parents has unreasonably denied visitation and (2) the denial has caused the child undue mental, physical, or emotional harm. The burden is on the petitioner to prove that denial of visitation will cause undue harm to the child, and at least one of the child's legal parents must not object to visitation. The court will consider a variety of factors in determining whether to grant visitation, including the length and quality of the prior relationship between the child and the stepparent.

Contact Our St. Charles LGBTQ and Same-Sex Marriage and Divorce Lawyer

The attorneys of Goostree Law Group will advocate strongly for your interests in matters of divorce, family law, and criminal defense. We serve clients in the Kane County communities of St. Charles, Campton Hills, Elgin, Geneva, Batavia, North Aurora, Elburn, Kaneville, and LaFox. Contact us in our St. Charles office at 630-584-4800 for a free consultation.

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