While same-sex marriage is now legal around the United States, the unfortunate reality is that LGBTQ couples can still face challenges during their divorce that straight couples do not. Because establishing parentage of a child of heterosexual parents is usually a matter of straightforward biology for both father and mother, establishing custody of a child is an easier process than it can be when a parent in an LGBTQ couple is not the biological parent of a child.
Of course, a biological parent-child relationship says nothing about the love a parent shares with a child or a parent’s commitment to caring for a child. But when it comes to Illinois law, a parent needs to have a legal relationship with a child to establish parental responsibilities; unfortunately, sometimes a child’s biological parent will try to use this against a non-biological parent in a divorce.
How Do I Establish Parenthood?
In 2015, the Illinois legislature signed a new law extending the presumption of parenthood to married same-sex couples who have a child in certain circumstances. For example, if two women are married and one woman gives birth to a child, the other woman is presumed to be the child’s other legal parent. For men, however, although one father may be the biological parent, the child’s other father may still have to go through the adoption process to establish parenthood. Surrogacy agreements can further complicate this process....