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Illinois Appellate Court Allows Ex-Member of Long Term Unmarried Relationship to Assert a Property Claim Following Split Up

  • By: Alan E. Sohn
  • Published: December 31, 2015

Over the past three decades, legislative enactments have had the cumulative effect of eliminating what had been the long-standing public policy of Illinois which treated unmarried relationships, whether of the same sex or between members of the opposite sex, as illicit relationships.

In 1979, while that policy remained in force and effect, the Illinois Supreme Court in Hewitt vs. Hewitt, enforced that policy and rejected a woman’s lawsuit against her former male partner of 15 years to divide their assets. Recently, however, the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, in Blumenthal v. Brewer, determined that what had been Illinois public policy was no longer in force based upon several legislative enactments which indicated that the Illinois legislature no longer considered that policy to be a valid one.

Therefore, the court reversed the trial court’s ruling, which had relied on Hewitt, and held that a woman may sue her former domestic partner, also a woman, for full ownership of their home after their 26 year relationship ended.

Alan E. Sohn

Alan E. Sohn received his Juris Doctorate from the College of Law of the
University of Illinois. Mr. Sohn has been a partner in both large and
smaller law firms and for the past 21 years has been in private practice.