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dupage county divorce lawyerWe love our pets in this country. It is estimated that there are more than 76 million companion pets living in American households. For most of us, our pets are not simply “pets,” but they are part of our family. But what happens when a couple who has one or more furry family members decide to divorce? As a DuPage County divorce attorney can explain, custody of pets can get just as contentious as custody of children in an Illinois divorce.

Illinois Pet Custody Laws

Until a few years ago, Illinois family law judges viewed pets in a divorce as property and treated the decision as to where the pet would live the same way they decided who would get the fine china or ATV. In 2018, lawmakers addressed this issue and changed the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) about how judges could address this issue.

The first change in the law was now referring to pets as “companion animals.” Keep in mind, however, companion animals are entirely separate from service animals. If a spouse has a service animal, as defined in the Illinois Human Care for Animals Act, that service animal is not included in the divorce settlement.


Lombard order of protection attorneyAccording to the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three women and one in seven men are victims of domestic violence. Abuse and harassment between family or household members is a problem that many people keep hidden. Sadly, many abusive relationships escalate until the victim is severely injured or even killed. An order of protection is a court order that can help protect a victim from further abuse. However, many domestic violence victims do not obtain this valuable legal protection because they are unsure if the actions of a spouse or family member are considered abuse under Illinois law.

Abuse as Defined by the Illinois Domestic Violence Act

If you or a loved one have been the victim of abuse at the hands of a romantic partner or family member, you should know that there are legal actions you can take to protect yourself. An order of protection may prohibit the perpetrator from coming to your home or workplace, calling or otherwise communicating with you, possessing firearms, and more.

To qualify for an Order of Protection, you will need to show that the person you are seeking protection from has physically harmed you or others in your household or caused you to fear that you will suffer harm. Many people assume that abuse is synonymous with physical violence; however, this is not the only type of behavior that is considered abusive under Illinois law. Per the Illinois Domestic Violence Act, abuse includes:


DuPage County child custody attorneysIf you are a parent who is unmarried, divorced, or planning to end your marriage, you may have questions about child custody. Disputes about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time can be complicated and contentious. One issue that commonly arises is a parent wishing to move or relocate. If you or your child’s other parent is planning to move, you should know the laws in Illinois regarding parental relocations and how this may influence your parental responsibilities and parenting time.  

Defining “Relocation”

Considerable changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) went into effect in 2016. Among these changes was a total overhaul of how the state deals with parental relocations. Formally called “child removal,” moving with a child when you share custody can dramatically change the co-parenting situation. If a parent with the majority of parenting time, formerly called the “custodial parent” or a parent with equal parenting time wishes to “relocate,” there are certain steps he or she is required to take. A parental move is considered a “relocation” if:

  • The parent currently lives in Cook County, Kane County, DuPage County, Lake County, Will County, or McHenry County and wishes to move to more than 25 miles away while remaining in Illinois.
  • The parent currently lives in another Illinois county and wishes to move more than 50 miles away while remaining in Illinois.
  • The parent wishes to move more than 25 miles away to a new residence outside of Illinois.

Relocation Requirements

If you are the parent with the majority of parenting time or equal parenting time and your move is considered a relocation, you will need to notify the other parent about the relocation at least 60 days in advance. You must tell the other parent the date you intend to move, your new address, and how long you plan to live in the new residence. If the other parent does not object to your relocation, you then make any necessary adjustments to your parenting plan and submit it to the court for approval.

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