Same-sex marriage laws took effect in Illinois in June of 2014. Approximately a year later, in June of 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court removed all bans on same-sex marriage throughout the USA. Same-sex couples have the same difficulties and concerns as opposite-sex couples and may require many of the same family law services.
LGBTQ family law services we provide
We have the knowledge, skills, and resources to manage a wide range of LGBTQ family law matters. Our divorce and family law attorneys can provide high-quality representation in the following types of cases:
- Adoption: LGBTQ single persons and same-sex couples can adopt in Illinois. If you are married or in a civil union, your partner or spouse must adopt with you. Whether one partner is adopting the biological child of the other partner, or both partners are adopting through an agency, we can assist you with your adoption.
- Divorce of marriage or civil union: Dissolution of a marriage or a civil union can be a complicated, stressful process. Certain issues in a divorce are often contentious. These issues include property division, maintenance, parenting time, child support, and allocation of parental responsibilities. We can guide you through the process, advise you of your options, assist in negotiations with your spouse or partner, represent you in mediation, and if necessary, argue your case in front of the judge.
- Same-sex child custody disputes: Parental responsibility (custody) issues can become complicated for LGBTQ families. One spouse may bring children into a same-sex marriage and the non-biological parent may wish to formally adopt them. Adoption requires termination of the other biological parent’s parental rights. When same-sex parents divorce, they may not agree on who has the right to make important decisions for the child.
- Property division in divorce for same-sex couples: When couples divorce, marital property is divided between them based on equitable distribution, in a way that is fair to both parties but not necessarily a 50/50 split. Marital assets are defined under the law as property acquired by either spouse during the marriage, while separate property is acquired before the marriage, or through gift or inheritance. This can get complicated, as many same-sex couples had been together for years before the law allowed them to marry.
- Prenuptial agreements: This type of written contract is entered into between the spouses before the marriage. Typically, a prenup designates how assets and debts would be divided if the couple should decide to divorce at a later date. LGBTQ couples can benefit from prenuptial agreements as much as different-sex couples. Although the idea of a prenup is not very romantic, it can actually strengthen the relationship by opening communication, providing future security, and clearly establishing who has control of which assets.
Same-sex marriage vs. civil union
The laws surrounding same-sex marriage are new, and family law situations can be complex. Illinois has allowed civil unions of same-sex couples since 2011. If you already have a civil union, you may be wondering what the advantage of marriage would be. One advantage is that same-sex marriage is recognized everywhere in the U.S., as of June 2015. Other states may not recognize a civil union. In addition, civil unions do not receive the same federal rights, benefits, and obligations as marriage.
Why choose us for LGBTQ services?
Beermann LLP in Chicago and Bannockburn is an award-winning divorce and family law firm that was established in 1958. We have the resources to provide a thoughtfully selected legal team of senior and junior attorneys, paralegals, and staff for each client we represent. We are the family law firm that cares.