You and your same-sex spouse will share very few life experiences equal to that of passing your knowledge and values on to your next generation.

You also want to make sure that both of you have equal legal parenting rights for your child to protect him or her should something catastrophic happen to you, your partner or your relationship. Negotiating parental rights within a same-sex marriage is still a relatively new aspect in Illinois, and we believe you should have an advocate that can stay on top of the ever-changing legal developments.

Illinois Marriage Fairness Act

The Marriage Fairness Act that went into effect in 2014 secures equal rights for all married couples in Illinois regardless of gender or sexual orientation. This includes shared access to each other’s insurance or occupational benefits, rights of inheritance, hospital visitation, dissolution and equitable asset division. You and your spouse are also presumed to have equal parentage of a biological child born into your marriage; however, you may consider formalizing parental rights through adoption.

Second-parent adoption

Similar to cases where stepparents wish to adopt their spouse’s children, the non-biological parent in a same-sex marriage can employ a process called second-parent adoption. Before this can happen, the other biological parent must relinquish all of his or her rights to the child. This course can be complex, but it may help prevent complications after a divorce or the death of you or your spouse.

While the country works to recognize full equality in LGBTQ relationships, you have a right to take complete advantage of existing statutes that protect your family. For more information on same-sex adoption, please visit our webpage.