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llinois becomes the 15th state to recognize same-sex marriage

With the signing of the bill authorizing same-sex marriage next week, Illinois becomes the 15th state to open up its marriage laws to all couples. When the law goes into effect next June, same-sex couples will be able to marry in Illinois. And, after the passage of some time, some of those couples will conclude their marriage is not working and decide to get a divorce.

As long as they remain in Illinois, there should be no more difficulty than any other couple experiences when dealing with the resetting of their life and relationships by the divorce process. However, because 35 other states do not recognize same-sex marriage, for any couple that moves away from Illinois, their property division, child custody and spousal support issues could be much more complex.

And if you travel from a neighboring state where same-sex marriage is not permitted, marry in Illinois and return to your home state, and your relationship fails, you cannot simply return to Illinois for a divorce.

Divorce laws, unlike marriage laws, typically have residency restrictions. In Illinois, in order to receive a divorce, one of the partners must be a resident for 90 days. As inconvenient as this may be, it is somewhat easier than our neighbors to the west in Iowa. There, you must be a resident for one year prior to filling for your divorce.

For states that do not recognize same-sex marriage, most will not grant a divorce, because they never recognized the existence of the marriage. None of this is simple, and you have questions, you may want to check with a divorce attorney before you make any decisions, as they can inform you of your options, allowing you to make an informed decision. 

Source: CBS St. Louis, "The Curious Case of Same-Sex Divorces in Missouri Courts," November 12, 2013

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