When a couple in a same-sex civil union or marriage* finds the need to separate or permanently dissolve the relationship, they are faced with different challenges than a divorcing heterosexual couple would customarily encounter. Because the legality of gay marriage varies from state to state, same-sex couples often have difficulty finding a divorce attorney who is up-to-date with the ever-changing legal rights of same-sex couples. The Chicago family law attorneys at Solutions First have been assisting those involved in same-sex relationships for quite some time and remain abreast of changes that impact the legal dynamics involved in same-sex relationships.
In 2011, Illinois joined the growing ranks of states that provide legal recognition of same-sex relationships, and because of that recognition, individuals in a civil union or marriage* in Chicago are now entitled to the same legal obligations, rights, responsibilities, protections, and benefits that are afforded to spouses under Illinois law. If you are a same-sex couple currently residing in Chicago or the state of Illinois, and you entered into a civil union, out-of-state marriage, or similar legal relationship such as the California Registered Domestic Partnership, Illinois will treat your existing legal relationship as a civil union. Therefore, you can benefit from what family law courts and an accomplished Chicago divorce lawyer have to offer to ensure that your rights, your children, and your assets are protected in the event of a break-up.
When you find yourself engaged in conflict due to a same-sex relationship break-up or the custody or support of children who were adopted in the context of a same-sex relationship, you are in perilous territory of very little legal precedent. In such a situation, it’s crucial to have the expertise and guidance of a Chicago divorce mediation lawyer who is experienced working with same-sex couples to help you understand the ramifications of any actions that are taken and decisions that are made. Currently, there is legislation pending that would create the Illinois Civil Union Act, which would mean, essentially, that many of the same rights and protections, as well as the pitfalls, of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act would apply to same-sex couples and parents. When dealing with these highly sensitive and emotionally charged concerns, a family law attorney in Chicago will make sure that you are heard and will encourage you to seek out all protections afforded to you.
Just as with heterosexual or unrelated relationships, our clients in same-sex relationships may use our legal services to pursue their rights in a courtroom or in mediation. Litigation in the courtroom means that your Chicago divorce lawyer will represent one client only and will clearly inform the client of the realities of that process and what to expect in terms of expense, time, and outcome. As with any legal proceeding, no outcome can be guaranteed, but a family law attorney can provide educated and informed estimations of the possible outcomes and the legal strategies that will best suit the client’s objectives and limitations.
Mediation may be the most appropriate option for same-sex couples who can engage in a cooperative approach. Mediation is a private, negotiated approach to conflict during which a divorce mediation lawyer will guide the conversation and facilitate creative problem-solving. Mediation should not be confused with arbitration, which is semi-judicial in nature and gives decision-making authority to a third party rather than the client, which is where we believe it belongs.
If you have questions about entering or dissolving a civil union, how your civil union affects child custody, your rights to maintenance (formerly known as alimony), pre- and post- civil union adoptions, post-decree modifications, and the division of financial resources and property following the dissolution of a civil union, an Illinois divorce lawyer at Solutions First can answer your questions and provide you with highly skilled representation.
If you’re searching for a Chicago family law attorney who is highly experienced and committed to staying on the cutting edge of this emerging issue at state and national levels, contact Solutions First Legal Services P.C. Our legal team can help you navigate the constantly changing landscape of your rights and provide you with the legal support you deserve. Call 312.386.1467 to reach Solutions First or email firstname.lastname@example.org to contact a Chicago family attorney who is ready to help you explore your choices.
* A civil union is not a marriage; it does not provide federal protection or responsibilities to those entering into a marriage. Illinois does not recognize same-sex marriage.