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Naperville divorce lawyerFor many people, pets are more than property, they are part of the family. However, pet ownership falls under the umbrella of property division during divorce. The division of marital assets and debts is often one of the most consequential aspects of the divorce process. Divorcing couples often disagree about the value of property and debt and who should keep certain properties. If you have dogs, cats, horses, birds, or other pets, you may have questions about how pet ownership is decided in an Illinois divorce.

Negotiating an Agreement With Your Spouse

Divorcing couples may be able to reach their own agreement about how to allocate pets and other property without taking their case to court. Although it can be very difficult to reach an agreement with a soon-to-be-ex-spouse, it is possible. Many couples eventually reach a settlement about how to divide property through attorney-led negotiations. Others turn to mediation or collaborative law. Often, one spouse retains ownership of pets while the other spouse is assigned an equitable share of different marital assets. Other times, couples choose to share ownership of pets similarly to how parents share custody of children.

Taking Your Case To Trial

The majority of Illinois divorce cases are resolved via settlement. However, there are some cases in which a couple simply cannot agree on a property division arrangement. If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement through negotiations or alternative resolution methods like mediation and collaborative law, your case may go to trial. For years, Illinois courts treated dogs, cats, and other family pets exactly the same as other assets. If the pet was acquired by a spouse before the marriage took place, the pet may be classified as separate property and assigned to the original owner. If the pet was acquired after the marriage, the animal was subject to the same equitable distribution laws as other assets.


DuPage County divorce attorney child custody

Illinois divorce law states that if a couple cannot agree on the allocation of parental responsibilities, the court will make a decision based on the couple’s child’s best interests. These decision-making rights allow either one or both parents to make determinations regarding a child’s education, health (both physical and mental), and if and how religion will be incorporated into their child’s upbringing. The law continues to define what a child’s best interests are in the eyes of the court. Certain factors, including psychological issues, can play a role in making child custody decisions.

A Child’s Well-Being

The overall goal of child-related decisions in a divorce is to do what is in the child’s best interest. Some of the most significant considerations when deciding child custody in an Illinois divorce may include:


Naperville divorce lawyerA divorce decree is legally binding and neither spouse is allowed to violate its terms. If your spouse does not abide by the agreement settled on during mediation or by a judge’s ruling, it is vital to work with a divorce attorney to clarify and resolve this conflict. Since there are many aspects to a divorce, there are different ways a spouse can violate a court order and each violation can carry different consequences. There is no one-size-fits-all punishment for violating the terms of a divorce.

Enforcing an Illinois Divorce - Contempt Proceedings

In general, when someone violates a court order, he or she is held in contempt of court. A spouse’s willful neglect to make child or spousal support payments, failure to comply with a parenting time order, and the refusal by one spouse to give specific assets to the other as stated in the divorce decree are all examples of violations. If your ex-spouse violates the terms of your divorce, you can file for contempt proceedings.

It is essential to try to communicate with your ex-spouse and learn if there was a reason that he or she failed to follow your divorce terms. There are many reasons a spouse may not be able to make child support payments on time. Sometimes, learning what mitigating factors might exist can lead to a resolution without court intervention.

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