Same sex divorce in Illinois

Along with the legalization of same-sex marriages in the state of Illinois comes the need to understand same-sex divorce.

Since June 1, 2014, the state of Illinois has allowed and recognized same-sex marriages. For many couples, this was a most joyous day and The Chicago Tribune noted that numerous gay and lesbian couples chose to marry that day or soon thereafter, some even converting their existing civil unions to marriages. The state law allows for couples with previous legal civil unions to use the date that the civil union was created as their official marriage date.

While for many people, the ability to backdate their official date of marriage could be a sentimental one, it could also end up being applicable if the couple eventually files for dissolution of marriage. Along with the legalization of same-sex marriage comes the opportunity for gay and lesbian couples to get divorced.

The beginning of same-sex divorce in Illinois

In 2011, Illinois allowed same-sex couples to enter into legally binding civil unions. On the day that this was first offered, one couple who had married elsewhere chose to file for the first same-sex divorce in the state according to the Huffington Post. The divorce was complicated and involved one spouse seeking the payment of alimony from his husband and asserting mental anguish and more. This story highlights how divorce between people in a same-sex marriage can include the same concerns and allegations as a divorce between a man and a woman.

Who can get married in Illinois?

The Cook County Clerk website indicates clearly that anyone over the age of 18 who is not currently in a marriage with another person can get married to anyone so long as that person is not a blood relation. There is no longer any stipulation regarding the genders of the spouses.

Complications for gay and lesbian divorce remain in many states

The ability to get divorced in Illinois is something that gay and lesbian couples do not enjoy as easily elsewhere. A story in the St. Louis Post Dispatch indicates that just a couple of months ago, a case in which a gay couple who have thus far been denied the ability to get divorced was sent to the Missouri Supreme Court. In 2011, a similar case was heard by the Wyoming Supreme Court. The ruling then allowed a lesbian couple who had married in Canada to get divorced in Wyoming.

What should same-sex couples do?

Gay and lesbian married couples who make the difficult decision to get divorced have the right to do so in Illinois. Because of the general complexity of divorce, working with an attorney who understands same-sex divorce is recommended.

Keywords: same-sex, marriage, divorce