Chicago Gay and Lesbian Family Law Attorneys
LGBT 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 LGBT community. We also represent LGBT 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.
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.
At Nottage and Ward, LLP, we provide quality legal representation in the following areas:
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 LGBT 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are there lingering legal issues particular to LGBT 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 LGBT 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 LGBT 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.
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 LGBT 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.
- FAQs About Same Sex Divorce in Illinois
- Same-Sex Marriage & Prenuptial Agreements: Items of Note
- Now That Gay Marriage is Legal in Illinois, What Becomes of Civil Unions?
To learn more, click here.
To learn more, click here.
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