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How Do the Recent Illinois Family Law Changes Affect Same Sex Marriages?

Posted on in Family Law

On January 1, 2016, sweeping changes to the way family law works in Illinois will take effect. The changes will affect everyone who has a divorce or child custody case in the state. Because same-sex marriage is relatively new in Illinois, many wonder if the changes to the family law statutes will have any impact on same-sex marriages in the state.

Status of Same-Sex Marriage in Illinois

who has a divorce or child custody case in the state. Because same-sex marriage is relatively new in Illinois, many wonder if the changes to the family law statutes will have any impact on same-sex marriages in the state.

Status of Same-Sex Marriage in Illinois

Same-sex marriage has been legal throughout Illinois since June 1, 2014. While marriage is usually regulated solely by the states, the U.S. Supreme Court made it clear earlier in 2015 that no state could prevent same-sex couples from obtaining a marriage license solely because their gender or sexual orientation.

Divorce, while often overlooked in discussions of same-sex marriage, is part of the bundle of rights that comes with the right to marry. If you have the right to get married, you have the right to dissolve that marriage.

Elimination of Fault-Based Divorce

Nothing in the new family law changes will impact the rights of same-sex couples to marry. The biggest changes deal with the way divorce and custody issues will work, and these changes will affect any couple seeking to dissolve their marriage or file for a legal separation.

Illinois is eliminating the concept of at-fault divorce. Previously, one party could file for divorce and claim the marriage breakdown was the fault of the other spouse. After January 1, 2016 it will not matter who was at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. It will only matter that the marriage is irrevocably broken.

Key Issues in Child Custody

Along with at fault divorces, Illinois is also moving away from the concept of custody in cases involving children. Instead the law creates a framework for parents to agree to, or have assigned to them, a series of rights and responsibilities. Any children will still live primarily with one parent, but this will no longer be discussed as a type of custody.

All couples, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, will go through the same process when working out the parental responsibilities for the children. The court must decide what is in the best interest of the child when making rulings.

Same-sex couples have full access to the courts and all the rights that come with marriage, including the right to a divorce.

If you have questions about divorce, spousal support, child support, or any other family law issues, you need to meet with a skilled DuPage County family law lawyer. Call the Stogsdill Law Firm today at 630-462-9500 to schedule a consultation.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075000050HPt%2E+VI&ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=8350000&SeqEnd=10200000

http://www.cookcountyclerk.com/vitalrecords/marriageequality/Pages/default.aspx

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