Photo of Karen Lavin

Illinois residents are probably used to hearing about television star Jane Lynch because of her role in “Glee.” But, she recently made news for a far different reason: an announcement that she and her wife of three years are getting a divorce. In the announcement, Lynch called the divorce “a difficult decision for us as we care very deeply about one another.”

Lynch, who is currently starring in “Annie,” met her wife in 2009. They wed the next year on Memorial Day. Lynch’s wife had one child, a daughter, preceding the couple’s marriage. Initial reports did not indicate whether the couple had a prenuptial agreement.

While the couple married in an East Coast state permitting same-sex marriage, Lynch’s divorce highlights an important consideration for Illinois same-sex couples: the need to prepare for the possible end at the start. That means drafting a partnership agreement. The agreement should explain each partner’s responsibilities and, similar in some respects to a prenuptial agreement, address common issues such as property division, custody and visitation rights.

That, however, is just the first step. At the beginning of a partnership, same-sex partners will often want to make sure they are both listed on any titles, especially to their home and any other legal document. They will also want to establish estate planning and administration agreements laying out what should happen if one partner dies.

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. By planning for the worst at the beginning, same-sex couples in Illinois can rest easy knowing that they are prepared for whatever the future holds.

Source: The Tribune, “‘Glee’ star Jane Lynch and wife announce divorce,” June 10, 2013