Landmark Illinois Equal Protection Case Finding That Divorced and Married Parents Must be Treated as Equals

Lubin Austermuehle’s predecessor firm litigated a case that is now before the Illinois Supreme Court on Respondent’s appeal of 750 ILCS § 5/513 (“Section 513”) being declared unconstitutional.

When an Illinois Statute is declared by a court to be unconstitutional it can be directly appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court and it does not have to go through to the Appellate Court first. Illinois Supreme Court Rule 302(a)(1).

The Respondent in the underlying case, where Section 513 was declared by the circuit court to be unconstitutional filed a direct appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court to decide if Section 513 is unconstitutional.

Lubin Austermuehle was retained by our client in the circuit court case to defend him in the appeal before the Illinois Supreme Court.

The circuit court’s ruling that Section 513 is unconstitutional was only applicable to the facts of the case. Our client’s fundamental right of raising his child and his decision to guide his daughter to a more appropriate college through the tightening of his pocket-book strings was obstructed by Section 513.

Section 513 creates two separate classes of persons, those married with children and those unmarried, widowed, or divorced with children. This is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees equal protection to all United States citizens regardless of their classification by the government.

Now, the Illinois Supreme Court must make a ruling on whether Section 513 discriminates against unmarried, widowed, or divorced parents. The Illinois Supreme Court’s decision will become applicable to all such persons that are subject to Section 513.

The outcome of the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision if Section 513 is unconstitutional, will affect anyone in Illinois where an action seeking or an order granting the contribution of college expenses from an unmarried, widowed, or divorced parent.

If the Illinois Supreme Court confirms the circuit court’s order that Section 513 is unconstitutional pursuant to the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, it will be a groundbreaking decision.

Previously, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in Kujawinski v. Kujawinski, 71 Ill. 2d 563 (1978), that Section 513 was not a discriminatory statute. But, that case was decided in a different era, where the “normal household” was different than the current definition of the modern family. Today, it is very common for persons to have multiple marriages or children from multiple partners or marriages.

The Illinois Supreme Court appears to be headed in a more modern direction and it is possible that it will agree with the circuit court’s reasoning that Section 513 is an outdated statute that has no place in the modern world.Super Lawyers named DuPage County commercial law trial attorney Peter Lubin a Super Lawyer and Illinois business dispute attorney Patrick Austermuehle a Rising Star in the Categories of Class Action, Business Litigation, and Consumer Rights Litigation. Lubin Austermuehle’s Illinois business trial lawyers have over thirty years of experience in litigating complex family law, child support, child custody, class action, copyright, noncompete agreement, trademark and libel suits, consumer rights and many different types of business and commercial litigation disputes.  Our Downers Grove, Elmhurst and Westmont business dispute lawyers, civil litigation lawyers and copyright attorneys handle emergency business lawsuits involving copyrights, trademarks, injunctions, and TROS, covenant not to compete, franchise, distributor and dealer wrongful termination and trade secret lawsuits and many different kinds of business disputes involving shareholders, partnerships, closely held businesses and employee breaches of fiduciary duty. We also assist Chicago and Oak Brook area businesses and business owners who are victims of fraud. You can contact us by calling at 630-333-0333.  You can also contact us online here.

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