Is Divorce Different in Illinois for LGBTQ People?
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Illinois for nearly 10 years, letting Illinoisans of every orientation pursue a legally recognized relationship with the person they love, including the traditional financial and governmental benefits of marriage. Unfortunately, LGBTQ individuals’ relationships are susceptible to the same shortcomings and downfalls as their heterosexual peers’, meaning gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer spouses may need to dissolve their marriages through a divorce as well.
Fortunately, LGBTQ divorces are managed in nearly the same way as heterosexual marriages, meaning that the pathway through divorce is usually clear. Here are some answers to common questions about LGBTQ divorces in Illinois.
Can We Get Divorced in Illinois if We Got Married Somewhere Else?
Yes. Marriages are federally recognized, and LGBTQ people can get divorced in any state as long as they meet that state’s residency requirements and are legally married in any other state.
Do We Need to Split Our Belongings?
Yes. Just as heterosexual couples must divide their marital assets, LGBTQ couples must do so as well. This can feel more complicated for some LGBTQ couples because they often have lived together for many years before getting married. Unfortunately, without a marriage or civil union to bind a couple together under the law, most of the assets or debts the couple or individual had before getting married will not be seen as part of the marital estate. Only assets acquired during the marriage will be part of the asset negotiation process. If divorcing spouses cannot reach an agreement about how to divide shared assets, the court will make a determination based on equitable division laws.
Can We Share Custody of Our Kids?
Yes. Child custody is divided into two important parts in Illinois: Parental responsibilities (important decision-making powers, previously known as “custody'') and parenting time (previously known as “visitation”). Parents are encouraged to create a parenting plan on their own that respects the child’s best interests and protects the relationship between each child and parent. If there are any questions as to whether there is a legal relationship between a child and parent before divorce, which can be more common in adoptions and children conceived through IVF, it is essential to resolve these issues before getting divorced.
Will One of Us Have to Pay Child Support?
Illinois decides child support using a formula called the “income shares method.” This requires each parent to financially support their child. The parent with the majority of the parenting time receives child support and the parent with less parenting time pays child support. Child support is typically ordered in a divorce unless the child spends exactly 50 percent of their time with each parent and parents earn the same amount of money.
What Should I Do to Meet with a Kane County LGBTQ Divorce Lawyer?
No matter who you love, you need a competent divorce attorney who understands the importance of securing a fair divorce decree and protecting your relationship with your children. Schedule a confidential consultation with the offices of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC by calling us today at 630-665-7300. We have many years of experience working with all kinds of divorces and are confident we can help you with yours.