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April 9, 2020

Decisions when Divorcing

When the United States Supreme Court’s ruling legalized marriage for same-sex couples nationwide, this decision made it much easier for people to marry. Although it opened up the possibility for an increase in happiness, the ruling also entailed the potential of an increase in divorce.

Same-sex spouses who divorce have many of the same concerns as different-sex spouses. There are, however, some aspects that are particularly pertinent to homosexual couples who end their marriages.

Considering Amicability

People who decide that married life is no longer an option for them, regardless of their sexual orientation, can experience a contested or uncontested divorce. If a divorcing couple has no financial disputes, as well as no disagreements about the other basic issues involved, they may file for an uncontested divorce. Agreeing to this option can reduce the conflict and paperwork involved, and it can streamline the overall process.

When a divorce involves children, the additional complications may detract from the simplicity of, if not altogether preclude, an uncontested divorce. Parents cannot always reach decisions regarding child custody and arrangements for spousal support without a disagreement along the way. The requirements for additional filings regarding child support and child custody in an uncontested divorce also make the process less simplified.

Determining Parental Rights

Divorcing parents of the same sex may face more difficulties regarding child custody due to the increased likelihood that only one of them is biologically related to their child. Regarding same-sex parenting rights for the births that took place prior to the Supreme Court’s marriage legalization ruling, the legal issues are generally still in flux.

In response to the question of parental rights following a divorce, the Illinois Supreme Court and other appellate courts have not always handed down the same ruling. While some decisions have deferred to the biological parent, others have not. Opinions in this area will continue to evolve as judges seek to determine, in each situation, what is best for the child.

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Judith Trentman Wilson, Attorney at Law, P.C. , The Villages, FL

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