Tag Archives: Illinois divorce law

What Happens to Pets in an Illinois Divorce?

Wheaton divorce attorney for pet custodyFor couples who have decided to get a divorce, one issue that may catch them unprepared is how to deal with the family pet, if they have one. In some cases, a pet may be beloved by both spouses, and neither one can imagine life without it. The law, of course, provides guidelines on how to deal with issues involving children of divorcing parents, and decisions about the allocation of parental responsibility and parenting time are made based on what is in children’s best interests. However, pets are often a different story.

Changes to the Laws on Pet Ownership After Divorce

While divorce has been around for a long time, new and increasingly complex issues often arise in divorce cases. As a result, legislatures must pass new laws to address or respond to these new issues. Illinois is no exception, and one area the legislature has recently addressed is pet ownership after divorce.

In the past, pets were treated as property, and therefore, their ownership was determined in the same manner as all other marital property. However, there is no rational way to split ownership of a pet based on a percentage, neither is it humane to treat a pet the same as a piece of furniture. When factoring in the emotional nature of decisions related to family pets, the need for the legislature to act on these matters becomes evident.

What Judges May Consider When Deciding Pet Ownership

According to the updated law, judges in Illinois divorce cases are now required to consider the well-being of the pet when deciding ownership. However, pets are still legally considered to be property, so the laws regarding the division of marital property will still apply in determining who gets the pet. What the law now brings into the equation is deciding which of the two spouses will give the pet better care—something that was not a factor before.

How About Joint Custody of Pets?

Joint “custody” of a pet is possible under the new Illinois law. If a couple demonstrates that they are both capable of taking care of the pet, and if they can afford to and wish to continue to share the pet, then a judge may decide that joint ownership of the pet is the best option. In these cases, the couple may create a schedule of when the pet will stay in each home, and they may wish to specify how they will divide costs related to the pet, such as vet bills.

Contact a Wheaton Marital Property Division Lawyer

If you have a pet and are determined to keep it after divorcing in Illinois, we are here to give you guidance on how to resolve this and other disputes. Find out how a knowledgeable DuPage County divorce attorney can help you achieve your objectives during your divorce by calling our office today at 630-871-1002 to arrange a free consultation.




Why Uncontested Divorce Is the Right Choice for Many DuPage County Couples

uncontested divorce, Wheaton family law attorneysThe media often portrays divorce as a messy affair, and you likely have friends and family members who have also shared horror stories about expensive and lengthy divorce battles in which they lost everything. The fact is, however, that divorce does not have to be like that. Sometimes couples just find they can no longer live together and decide to part ways amicably and move on with their lives . In these instances, what is called an uncontested divorce is often right way to go.

What is an Uncontested Divorce?

Put simply, an uncontested divorce is a dissolution of a marriage in which a couple agrees on everything, or nearly everything about splitting assets and ending the marriage. The couple must be prepared to present a reasonable divorce settlement agreement to the court that addresses all of the necessary considerations.

Why Choose Uncontested Divorce?

The biggest advantage of an uncontested divorce is the cost. If a couple wants to argue about splitting assets or child visitation, it can require months of litigation and regular trips to court, but if there is nothing to dispute, a marital settlement agreement can typically be drafted quickly and easily, and the dissolution may only require a couple trips to the court.

This also means a divorce can be completed rather quickly. Again, with nothing for a court to decide and nothing for attorneys to litigate, there is nothing holding up a court from entering a decree to dissolve the marriage. However, an attorney can still be advantageous in an uncontested divorce by ensuring that a petition for dissolution is properly filed and that the marital settlement agreement accurately encompasses all of the rights and duties of the parties. Even if a divorce is uncontested, you never know when something in a marital settlement agreement may later be brought to a court’s attention.

Finally, an uncontested divorce can help preserve a couple’s privacy, which can be a concern for many couple seeking to end their marriage. Of course, the divorce itself is a public record, but an uncontested divorce can mean there is no need to file lengthy motions that sometimes contain embarrassing allegations. A court also will not need to know how the party arrived at the terms of the agreement, and in some cases, a court may be willing to seal the marital settlement agreement itself from public view.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

While uncontested divorces are much simpler and often faster than drawn-out divorces in which couples fight over property and child custody, there are still many procedural issues to consider that only a licensed Illinois attorney will fully understand and help guide you through. Contact our passionate DuPage County family law attorneys today for a consultation.