LGBT Collaborative Family Law
Marriage is defined in Illinois as being between two people licensed, solemnized, and registered as indicated in the law. The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act’s intention is to make marriage in the state such that both same-sex and opposite-sex couples, and their children, receive the same rights, status, benefits, and protections associated with a civil marriage.
The act clearly indicates that it has no influence or regulation on marriage relating to the beliefs or practices of any religious groups or denominations.
In the United States, same-sex marriage has been legalized since 2015, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that individual state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. Illinois granted legal same-sex marriage just prior to the federal decision, when former Governor Pat Quinn signed it into law in November 2013, which took effect in June 2014. In 2011, Quinn signed similar legislation which acknowledged civil unions between couples regardless of gender. As of May 2016, approximately 9,500 marriage licenses had been issued to same-sex couples in Cook County alone. Although Illinois pioneered such legislation, the Supreme Court ruling was still critically important because it effectively ended the possibility that other states would not recognize gay marriages.
Collaborative law, which is also referred to as collaborative practice, is a process designed to allow divorcing couples to work exclusively with their attorneys and other related professionals to reach an agreement or settlement, without depending on court-imposed direction or litigation. This voluntary process is initiated by signing a contract, agreeing to participate in the process.
Essentially, collaborative law is best for those couples who agree on the majority of issues relating to the divorce and seek to limit further hostility. Spouses’ assets are disclosed, and property division is done in an amicable way. Meetings are conducted with the couple and their attorneys to frame the details of the divorce agreement. Often, collaborative practice will employ mediation to some degree, which uses a neutral "mediator" to facilitate the details of the divorce. Mediation is viewed as a less adversarial process than traditional divorce.
- To minimize blame as well as confrontation and stress.
- To allow the couple to work together to reach solutions, rather than having them dictated by the court.
- To create a "win-win" resolution compared to a highly contested and competitive approach.
- To better account for the best interests of any children.
- To limit spending on litigation.
- To increase privacy and confidentiality by keeping details outside of the public record.
- To provide a respectful and civilized way of terminating the marriage.
Depending on the circumstances, other professionals may be brought in to facilitate the process. Examples include child health specialists, or financial specialists, who can better interpret the division of investments and provide guidance relating to tax liability.
The Chicago LGBT family law attorneys of Nottage and Ward, LLP, have the legal expertise necessary to successfully employ collaborative solutions for LGBT couples in Illinois. Contact our office at (312) 332-2915 to schedule a consultation.
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Leslie has been the strongest representation I could ask for
Leslie has been the strongest representation I could ask for in a very complicated, emotional matter. She has continuously looked out for my best interest and the best interest of my son. She is always prompt in getting back to me and in keeping me well informed about my case.
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