Attorney: Same-Sex Divorce Raises Questions

Dec 3, 2013

The start of same-sex marriages in Illinois next year could create some challenges for those seeking to end them later.

A Chicago attorney who specializes in family law and matrimony says the divorce itself shouldn’t be difficult, but it’s not clear what that means to dividing property or parental rights.

Leon Finkel says a strict interpretation of the marriage act shows that efforts before a couple tying the knot don’t count, but says that statute could be applied differently for couples who couldn’t legally marry over several years, but had a similar relationship over that time.

Finkel cites home ownership as an example, and what would happen if both spouses contributed to an investment account before the wedding – but didn’t put any funds in afterwards:

Credit photo by ComeIlMare / CC BY 2.0

"And the question is, that account that was owned by one spouse before the marriage would generally be considered a non-marital asset, Finkel said. “And here, we have situation where someone would suggest, 'Wait a second, I had rights to that account because I contributed to that account.'  And that might be a very difficult argument to make."

Finkel advises any same-sex couples raising a child to be sure and go through a legal adoption through children, giving them the proper agreement that recognize parental rights.

Same-sex ceremonies start in Illinois June 1st.