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Must you adopt prior to an LGBTQ divorce for parental rights?

On Behalf of | May 26, 2020 | LGBTQ+ Law

Although Illinois acknowledged LGBTQ marriages a while before the federal government did so, the state still has a long way to go while clarifying standards during LGBTQ divorces, especially those with minor children. LGBTQ divorces are still a relatively new area of law, which can make going through one particularly nerve-wracking for a loving parent.

With the exception of relationships with trans, non-binary or gender-fluid individuals, it is quite common for the children of LGBTQ relationships to either only have a biological connection to one parent or to have joined the family through adoption.

In circumstances involving adoption, it is common for both spouses to be part of the adoption and therefore to share legal rights. When only one parent has a biological connection, that could leave the other partner worried that they could lose out on the relationship with their children if their marriage ends.

Illinois has a precedent protecting non-biological parents

In 2018, the Illinois courts look at a unique scenario involving a lesbian couple and a child carried by one of the women. The courts looked at multiple factors including whether the couple held themselves out to the community as co-parents and the role they played in the life of the child.

In this particular case, the non-biological mother had her name on the birth certificate as the partner of the biological mother and had played a significant role in raising the child. The courts ruled in her favor, paving the way for a more compassionate approach to LGBTQ divorces involving children.

While there is no guarantee of securing the exact outcome you want, if you are an LGBTQ parent in Illinois considering divorce, you may be able to seek your parental rights and responsibilities despite not having a biological tie with the child.