The rights of the LGBTQ community and same-sex relationships have greatly evolved in the United States within the last 20 years. Unlike many countries, the United States has legalized same-sex marriage throughout all 50 states. Learn about how historical changes can result in difficult divorces and dissolutions:
Same-sex marriage officially became legal across the country just three years ago. The 2015 decision of Obergefell v. Hodges resulted in the highly anticipated legalization of marriage. Before permitting same-sex marriage, the various states across the country allowed for “civil unions.” A civil union is a legally recognized arrangement that is similar to marriage. The first civil union was offered by the state of Vermont in 2000. The legal trend spread throughout the United States, including in Illinois in 2011. Though civil unions did recognize same-sex relationships, many people within the LGBTQ community did not view civil unions as having the same power and meaning as marriage. Obergefell v. Hodges put an end to marriage inequality, making the loving agreement legal in all 50 states.
Divorce and Dissolution
Like all other relationships, just because one can get married does not mean it will always work out in the end. Divorce between same-sex couples is often easier said than done. Before the legalization of same-sex marriage, many couples had been together for 10, 15, even 20 years. This means their life together is often much longer than their marriage certificate recognizes. As a result, it can be much more difficult to determine parental rights, alimony payments, and various other aspects that are decided in a divorce. Some courts will recognize prior years of cohabitation; however, this is not always the case. On the other hand, some couples decided never to say “I do” and simply stuck to their legally recognized civil union. As is the case with marriage, a civil union is a binding contract. Thus, more goes into the ending of a civil union than simply walking out the door. The dissolution of a civil union is very similar to the procedure for divorce. Assets get divided, parental rights must be decided, and spousal maintenance is allocated if necessary. Though the words divorce and dissolution may be different, the result is the same: a terminated contract with loose ends to tie up.
Legal Help for Illinois Divorce and Dissolution
Divorce and dissolution when it comes to same-sex couples is an extremely complicated process. It is difficult to divide the assets and results of a relationship that has not been legally recognized for the length of time that it has existed. At Shaw Family Law, P.C., we understand that the delay in legal recognition should not mean an unfair divorce or dissolution. Contact us at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation with a seasoned Kane County divorce attorney so that you can have a fair ending to your marriage.