Gay Divorces: A New Take on an Old Problem - The Chicago Family Law Blog

The Chicago Family Law Blog

Gay Divorces: A New Take on an Old Problem

With figure skater Johnny Weir and his soon-to-be ex-husband, Victor Voronov's, divorce making headlines, gay divorces are quickly becoming a topic of conversation.

Allegedly, the marriage fell apart when Weir was accused of cheating and having sex with a Chicago club owner, according to The Huffington Post.

While gay marriage in Illinois may be relatively new, divorces in the gay community aren't.

Gay Marriage in Illinois

In November 2013, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed the state's marriage equality bill into law, which made Illinois the 16th state to legalize gay marriage. Even though the law wasn't set to take effect until June 1, 2014, a February court ruling has allowed same-sex couples in Cook County to get hitched early.

Illinois' Office of Tourism has already begun advertising LGBT friendly wedding venues in the state. Not only is marriage equality an important civil right, it's also economically beneficial. According to a UCLA Williams Institute study, gay marriage in Illinois may bring in $103 million in tourist dollars over the next three years.

Although gay marriage was only legalized last year, same-sex civil unions have been recognized in Illinois for years. Illinois has granted same-sex couples in civil unions the same rights as married couples -- including the right to divorce. So gay couples divorcing are nothing new in Illinois, but soon the divorces could be from either a marriage or civil union.

Chicago Divorce Facts

Regardless if you're straight or gay, spouses may still wind up divorced. Here are some interesting facts about Chicago divorces:

  • Pet custody. There's been a noticeable increase in pet custody cases in Chicago. Although pets are technically considered someone's property, most courts treat pets more similarly to children than furniture.
  • Early marriage may be a divorce indicator. According to the Pew Research Center, those who marry at an earlier age are more likely to get divorced. This could be because some people who get married at a young age miss out on better career opportunities or make unwise decisions when choosing a partner.
  • Slow economy could mean fewer divorces. A study suggests that in the initial years of the economic recession, divorce rates dropped. When the economy began to recover in 2009 and 2010, divorce rates rebounded to pre-2007 levels.

So if the sun is setting on your civil union, contact a family law attorney in Chicago for more help.

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