The Illinois legislature, through the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, has now legalized same-sex marriage. All same-sex marriages have the exact same rights, protections and privileges as any different-sex marriages in the state of Illinois. This major change and step forward in our state went into effect June 1, 2014.
Our law firm, Ronald L. Bell & Associates P.C., has always believed that all people have the right to marry. We have and continue to proudly serve and protect the legal rights of same-sex couples and their family throughout the Lake County and northern Illinois area.
Since 1980, we have offered family law services and sound legal representation. We have guided countless clients through the stressful and difficult divorce process. We offer our services to gay and lesbian couples as well, helping them navigate the law in terms of ending their same-sex marriage or civil union and creating separation agreements. Contact us to discuss how new same-sex marriage laws impacts your family’s current or future situation.
Illinois Same-Sex Marriage Laws
Essentially, with the passage of new legislation, all couples throughout Illinois, whether you are gay, lesbian, transsexual or heterosexual, are given the same freedom to marry and the rights and privileges that go with it. In fact, just at the Illinois state level, being legally married gives a citizen more than 600 benefits, protections and responsibilities.
In general, the requirements for getting married in Illinois for same-sex couples is just like with any other marriage in Illinois. Both parties must be 18 years or older. Neither party can be in a current and existing marriage, civil union or domestic partnership, or in the middle of dissolution. Furthermore, the parties must obtain a valid marriage license at their county clerk’s office. During the period of validity, the parties must then have an officiant perform the marriage after delivering him or her the valid marriage license. This does not have to be a religious ceremony.
Couples that have a legally recognized marriage in another state are recognized as being married in the state of Illinois. This means that you do not have to get married again in Illinois so long as you provide some valid proof of your marriage (i.e., marriage license from the other state).
Existing Civil Unions and Domestic Partnerships
For those who are currently in a civil union or domestic partnership, this will be recognized as a “civil union” under the new laws. This is not the same as being recognized as “married.” Therefore, you must go through the same steps to obtain a “marriage” under the law just like any other couple seeking the same rights and privileges. Fortunately, for the first year the law goes into effect, civil unions can be “converted” into marriages. This can be done through a “conversion form” at your local county clerk’s office. The date of your marriage will be retroactive to the date of your civil union.
Lake County Same-Sex Marriage Attorney Serving All Surrounding Counties
The process for dissolving a same-sex marriage is the same as a different-sex divorce. Our goal in such cases is to inform our clients of their rights and obligations and to guide them down a path toward an outcome in their best interests. Libertyville same-sex marriage and family law lawyer Ronald Bell will address issues such as:
- Dividing jointly owned property
- Negotiating child custody and visitation
- Paying or receiving child support and spousal maintenance
We always have our clients’ best interests in mind. We seek to develop a full understanding of their needs, motivations and objectives. This information informs and fuels the strategy we choose in their cases.
We offer informative strategy sessions to meet your needs. Schedule your strategy session with lawyer Ronald L. Bell by calling us at 847-495-6000. You can also fill out our online contact form. Off-site, evening and weekend times are available.
Credit cards accepted.