Same-Sex Divorces Face Unique Complications
Illinois legalized same-sex marriage in November 2013, and the law went into effect in June 2014. Just over a year later, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage for the rest of the country. For same-sex couples across the country, the Supreme Court’s decision marked a turning point in the fight for equality.
With the right to marry comes the right to divorce. If you and your same-sex partner have decided to divorce, you are likely experiencing many different emotions. I am attorney Tom Gurewitz, and I have worked as a family law attorney for over 40 years. Through all my years helping families at my law firm, Thomas M. Gurewitz, Attorney At Law, I have seen the emotional toll divorce takes on people. Though the law now views same-sex couples equally, there are certain complications that may be unique to your situation. I understand these same-sex family law challenges, and I am here to help.
You Have The Right To What Is Yours
Illinois is an equitable property state, so all property acquired during marriage, known as marital property, is divided equitably between former partners. When dividing marital property, the court looks at factors like:
- Contribution to the marital assets;
- Duration of the marriage; and
- Earning potential of each partner.
For awarding spousal support, the court will also factor in how long you were married.
For divorcing same-sex couples, using the length of the marriage can be problematic. Many same-sex partners have been together much longer than the court will recognize. For same-sex couples who entered into domestic partnerships, the issue of property division can be even more troublesome. The law is often slow to catch up. As your lawyer, I will bring these issues to the attention of the court and work to get you your fair share of the marital assets.
Same-Sex Custody Concerns Can Be More Complex
For men married to other men, child custody issues can be particularly complicated. Only a child’s biological father has parental rights. The only way for the nonbiological male parent to have parental rights is to adopt the child. For women, the rules are more flexible. If neither of two women is the biological parent, the issue can become complex.
Even if you did not formally adopt your child while you were married, you do not have to automatically give up your child now that you are divorcing. However, the law may not be on your side, so I will work to advocate on your behalf.
As parents, you and your former partner want what is best for your children. For children, the best thing usually is maintaining a relationship with both parents. We can work together to create a parenting schedule that works for you and your former spouse. Or if we cannot reach an amicable agreement, I will take your case to court. As a longtime Waukegan attorney, I have decades of experience representing individuals in family law court. I am committed to helping families heal and move forward with their lives.