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What is the Divorce Process for Same-Sex Parents? 

Posted on in Divorce

palatine divorce lawyerIf you are in a same-sex relationship and you are thinking about divorce, you probably have many questions and concerns. In Illinois, same-sex marriage has been legal for some time now. Individuals can marry, have children, and divorce just like heterosexual couples. Issues like property division and spousal maintenance are handled the same as in divorce cases involving opposite-sex individuals. However, child custody matters may be more complicated.

Any parent getting divorced is encouraged to work with a divorce lawyer who can help them navigate the legal system. A divorce attorney will be able to provide advice on all aspects of the process and can work with you to ensure that your rights are protected. However, guidance from a skilled attorney is even more crucial in a same-sex divorce involving children.

Property and Financial Matters in a Same-Sex Divorce Case

Divorcing spouses of any gender have the option to negotiate their own property division agreement. Deciding who should keep what property can be complicated, and many spouses struggle to reach a compromise. Mediation and collaborative law are two alternative dispute resolution methods that may be used to reach an agreement without going to court. However, if the parties cannot agree through negotiation, mediation, or another method, the court will determine an equitable division of property based on Illinois law.

Spousal maintenance may also be negotiated and agreed upon outside of court. Alternatively, a spouse may petition the court for a spousal maintenance award. Illinois courts typically only award spousal maintenance in cases involving a significant difference between the earning capacities of both spouses, but each case is different.

Child Custody Matters for Same-Sex Parents

Child-related issues during a divorce can be complicated for same-sex couples. If both spouses are listed on the child’s birth certificate, they are both presumed to be the child’s legal parents. The parents will create a parenting plan detailing the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time just as a heterosexual couple would. If the parents are unable to agree on a plan, the court will establish a parenting plan that is in the child’s best interests.

If one parent is not biologically related to the child and parentage (the legal child-parent relationship) has not been established through stepparent adoption or other means, the situation becomes much more complicated. A parent with no legal or biological relationship to the child may struggle to gain parental rights and parenting time after a divorce. If you find yourself in this situation, make sure to work with a divorce attorney who understands the unique complexities of child custody issues in a same-sex marriage.

Contact our Arlington Heights Same-Sex Divorce Lawyer

Nicholas W. Richardson is a skilled Palatine divorce lawyer with ample experience in same-sex divorce issues, property division, child custody, parentage, stepparent adoption, and more. If you are a parent in a same-sex marriage planning to get divorced, contact The Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C. for help. Call 847.873.6741 for a consultation.


Introducing The Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson

Nicholas W. Richardson is an experienced divorce lawyer and mediator whose comprehensive legal knowledge, commitment to clients and reputation for results bring lasting solutions to your problems.

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