In the past, same-sex couples in Illinois could only enter into a domestic partnership agreement. Now, same-sex marriage has been legalized in the state — a victory for lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender individuals who have waited a long time for this moment.
Recently, two lesbians in their mid-60s made history as they entered a marriage under the state’s new law. For them, this was the happiest day of their lives as one of them has terminal cancer. Before same-sex marriage became legal in Illinois, the couple feared that one of them would not make it before their marriage was granted. They filed a lawsuit that granted them an expedited marriage license, despite the fact that the law will not become effective until June.
A civil union offers limited protection to same-sex couples. Now that same-sex marriage is legal in the state, LGBT couples can enter the marriage and obtain federal benefits. Before rushing into same-sex marriage, gay couples should think of their future as married individuals. They can draft a prenuptial agreement to protect their property and assets just in case the marriage ends in divorce. Spousal support can also be included in the agreement, with the exception of child custody and visitation issues.
Just like heterosexual marriages, gay marriages may also end in divorce. In the event of marital dissolution, same-sex couples will also face issues concerning property division, spousal support, child custody and child support. It is important to fully understand their rights as same-sex couples. Fortunately, there are professionals in Cook County, Illinois, that can help same-sex couples with their legal disputes.
Same-sex divorce can be settled through the traditional litigation or through alternative methods like collaborative law and mediation. The path of the case depends on how the spouses intend for the case to proceed. Due to the legal complexities of divorce, same-sex couples may want to seek legal advice in order to protect their rights.
Source: Abcnews.go.com, “Same-sex couple’s wedding a first for Illinois,” Sophia Tareen, Nov. 27, 2013