312-332-2915 Email Us
home services lgbtq family law

Chicago Gay and Lesbian Family Law Attorneys

LGBTQ Family Law in Illinois

In the United States, gay marriage is legal. Arriving at this moment took many decades of advocacy and should be viewed as a tremendous victory. Of course, same-sex couples face the same difficulties as heterosexual couples when it comes to family conflict.

At Nottage and Ward, LLP, our Illinois family law attorneys provide quality legal representation to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender couples. We handle a number of legal matters that affect the rights of the LGBTQ community. We also represent LGBTQ individuals on issues such as property division, maintenance, allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, adoption, pre- and postnuptial agreements, and dissolution of civil unions and same-sex marriages.

We stay abreast of the changing laws that affect your rights. Please contact us at (312) 332-2915 to learn more about how we can help you.

Back to Top

Same-Sex Marriage Is Legal

Illinois’s same-sex marriage law took effect on June 1, 2014. Couples who entered into civil unions could convert them into marriage licenses, backdated to when their civil union ceremonies were held. Those who chose to have a wedding could still convert their unions and have the new ceremony date issued on the license.

On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court struck down all bans on same-sex marriage in the entire country.

Back to Top

Services Provided

At Nottage and Ward, LLP, we provide quality legal representation in the following areas:

Prenuptial agreements

A prenuptial agreement can be a valuable tool for opening lines of communication and strengthening your relationship before entering into marriage. This legal document is a written contract between spouses that is signed prior to marriage, and which typically designates how the couple will handle the division of money, debts, investment portfolios, and other financial assets should they decide at a later date to divorce.

While these types of agreements are viewed by many people as unromantic and a signal that one or both of the spouses expect the marriage to fail, the truth is often the opposite. Couples with prenuptial agreements often find that their marriage is stronger because they took the time to clearly lay out who has control of what assets and provide security for the future.


We can assist gay couples with the adoption process whether you plan to adopt your partner's biological child or go through an agency – domestic or abroad. We will ensure that bringing a new member into your family is a smooth, pleasant, and memorable experience.


Whether it involves heterosexual or gay couples, a divorce can be a heartbreaking, emotional process that is also legally complex. We will advocate on your behalf and work to get the best possible results for you. A divorce or separation usually involves a number of contentious issues including maintenance, child allocation, child support, parenting time, and property division.

Allocation of parental responsibilities

Our attorneys have extensive experience in LGBTQ parentage issues. Our goal is to ensure that your best interests and the child's best interests are served.

In Illinois, legal allocation is the term used to describe which parent or guardian has the right to make significant decisions on behalf of a child, often surrounding the child’s education, religion, extracurricular activities, and healthcare. Divorcing parents will need to establish who has the right to decide where the child goes to school, where and what form of medical treatment the child will receive, and more. Sole allocation indicates that one parent has the right to make these important decisions, while joint allocation means that both parents have a say in the decisions.

Back to Top

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are there lingering legal issues particular to LGBTQ couples?

A: One of the consequences of the legalization of same-sex marriage is that formal or informal relationships that began prior to the change can be affected. In particular, couples that entered into a civil union prior to 2014 who now want to be married cannot get a prenuptial agreement. They will have the option of dating their marriage license to the date of the civil union, which means that any agreement will go into effect after their marriage began. In such a case, a couple may want to sign a postnuptial agreement.

It may sound complicated, but that’s what a lawyer is for - to walk you through the process and make sure that you are fully aware of your options.

Q: Can LGBTQ couples be refused by an adoption agency because of their sexual orientation?

A: The short answer is that they shouldn’t be. Unfortunately, such discrimination does happen on occasion.

Several recent cases have protected the rights of LGBTQ couples. On March 31, a federal district court ruled against Mississippi's adoption ban on same-sex couples. Then, on June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court reversed an Arkansas Supreme Court ruling and ordered all states to treat same-sex couples equal to heterosexual couples when it came to the issuance of birth certificates. For all practical purposes, these rulings mean that adoption by same-sex couples is legal in all 50 states.

However, when it comes to international adoptions, these rulings do not apply, and other countries and foreign organizations may have their own laws against same-sex couples adopting children.

Back to Top

Protecting Your Rights

At Nottage and Ward, LLP, we understand that family law issues may seem similar for all couples. However, we also know that there are a number of important issues and concerns that are unique to the LGBTQ community. We work diligently to ensure that your specific needs are addressed and that your rights are protected every step of the way.

To schedule a consultation, please contact our Chicago office at (312) 332-2915. We are here to help you.

Back to Top

Additional Information

We are proud sponsors of Little Black Pearl Art and Design Center.

To learn more, click here.

Proud Member of Friends of the Chicago River.

To learn more, click here.

Client Reviews

5 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.

Read More Client Reviews

We have the experience.

We are knowledgeable about financial issues. We are experienced in child custody problems and sensitive to the overall needs of the client.

We have the experience to negotiate complex financial issues. The brain trust to maneuver contentious divorce litigation. And the sensitivity and skill to resolve highly charged custody issues.

Contact Us

Where We

Our practice is concentrated in Cook, DuPage, Lake, Will, Kankakee and McHenry counties.

Nottage and Ward, LLP  | 
10 N. Dearborn, 11th Floor, Chicago, IL 60602

Illinois LGBTQ Family Law Attorney Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results set forth herein are based upon the facts of that particular case and do not represent a promise or guarantee. Please contact an attorney for a consultation on your particular divorce matter. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the state of Illinois.

Site design by Two by Four.
Build and Marketing by SLS Consulting | Accessibility | Sitemap