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Same Sex Couples and “Divorce” under New Illinois Law

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Same sex couples go through “Divorce” in Illinois even though they never married. What if they have children?

New law in Illinois changes the rules! The new Illinois Parentage Act which took effect January 1, 2016 is gender neutral and recognizes same sex parents. It recognizes gay parents who are splitting up instead of divorcing because they were never actually married.

You cannot fight for custody if the law does not recognize you as a parent. This has had a particularly devastating effect on the Gay Community.

In line with the legalization of Gay Marriage in Illinois, the new Parentage Act recognizes that the definition of who is the parent is not limited to a man and a woman. The Illinois Parentage Act of 2015 which was signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner in July of 2015 takes out the words “man and woman” when defining who can be a parent and substitutes the words “parent”. By eliminating the old language of a man and a woman, the new law recognizes parental rights regardless of the parents’ gender.

The new law specifically states that a person can be a “Parent” without ever having been married to the other person and without regard to whatever the legal relationship between the two parents is or was.

Who is presumed to be a parent without a DNA Test? Traditionally a man was presumed be the father of a child if the child was born during the parties’ marriage. The new law states that a child is presumed to be yours if he or she was born during a civil union or a substantially similar relationship. Alternatively, a presumption of parentage attaches if the child was born within 300 days after divorce or a substantially similar relationship.

Although this new law doesn’t answer all of the questions gay parents face, it at least is gender neutral. For more information as to how this new law might impact your situation, contact a custody lawyer.

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