IL divorce lawyerDivorcing couples have many questions when their marriage ends. One of the saddest is, “Who gets to keep the pet?” The question is an interesting one, and in recent years, Illinois has changed the law on how pets are viewed during divorce proceedings. While pets were once considered property, today some family courts, including those in Illinois, make decisions regarding pets based on child custody guidelines more than they do on property division laws.

Treating Pets Like Property During Divorce

Prior to 2018, Illinois treated pets as property during divorce. When a spouse brought a pet into the marriage, the pet was considered non-marital property and as such, was the property of the spouse that owned it prior to the nuptials. However, when a couple adopted or purchased a pet together during the marriage, the pet was considered marital property. In Illinois, marital property is divided fairly but not necessarily equally under the equitable distribution laws of the state.

Unlike other property, pets cannot be physically divided in a divorce. While a couple may have to sell a home and divide the proceeds, the same cannot be done with an animal. In most cases then, the spouse that kept the pet typically had to relinquish other property to make the division of property fair for both parties. Today, however, property division laws are not relied on as much when determining which spouse gets to keep the pet.

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IL divorce lawyerEven the simplest divorce cases have the potential to become stressful and drawn out. Certain factors though, can exacerbate this process and complicate a divorce case. When these factors are involved, the divorce process not only becomes more costly, but also more stressful and will take more time. People going through the process cannot always control these factors and that can make a divorce even more stressful. An experienced divorce lawyer can advise on these factors, and take some of the complications out of the process.

When Your Spouse Does Not Want a Divorce

Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, which means that you and your spouse do not need to agree to a divorce. If you want a divorce, you must only file a complaint with the family courts. Within your complaint, you must only state that there has been a breakdown in the marital relationship and that there is no chance of reconciliation.

However, while the law allows you to get a divorce regardless of whether your spouse agrees, it can make the process more complex if your spouse does not agree. They may try to intentionally make the process more difficult, or they may try to draw out the process in the hopes that you will change your mind. Regardless of their actions, you can still get a divorce but it will be more expensive and more complex.

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IL divorce lawyerMany people think that alimony is a thing of the past and something that was awarded in divorce cases when one spouse, typically the wife, stayed home to take care of the kids. Alimony is not mentioned in Illinois law, but that does not mean that spousal payments are a thing of the past.

Illinois law refers to alimony as ‘spousal maintenance’ and it is still very much a prevalent part of divorce in the state today. Generally speaking, judges will award spousal maintenance for no longer than three years. If you are about to get a divorce, it is important to know the purpose of spousal maintenance, and whether or not a judge will make you pay it.

What Is Spousal Support?

Spousal maintenance payments are paid either on a regular basis or as a lump sum. The purpose of spousal maintenance lies in its name. It is intended to support a dependent spouse after divorce and help them maintain their lifestyle until they can support themselves. Generally speaking, the dependent spouse is the person that made less money during a marriage than their spouse.

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IL divorce lawyerDivorce is never easy and it brings many consequences for the people going through it. One of these consequences people do not consider is their credit score, and how it will be impacted during divorce. While sometimes, a divorce will hurt a credit score, there are ways to protect it so it is easier to move forward in your new life.

How Does Divorce Hurt Your Credit?

A divorce can hurt your credit in a number of ways. Many people feel the financial strain after a divorce because they are accustomed to living in a two-income household. When one of those incomes is no longer available, it is more difficult to make loan payments, pay bills, and more, which can ultimately hurt a person’s credit.

Additionally, during a divorce, a judge may decide that one spouse is responsible for paying debts owned jointly by the couple during property division hearings. If that happens and your spouse does not pay their portion of the payments, that will also hurt your credit score.

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IL divorce lawyerWhen separating or getting a divorce, you have many things on your mind. You are likely considering what your future will hold, where you will live, and possibly even how often you will see your children. While these are all very valid concerns, there are other things you should think about, and that many people overlook when they are going through a divorce. By taking the below actions, you will protect yourself and your case.

Change Your Passwords

Many spouses know the passwords their spouse uses for certain accounts. If you allow your spouse to continue accessing your emails, your texts, or your phone, they may learn important information, such as what your lawyer told you in their last email. Always change all of your passwords so you are the only one that can access your most personal information.

Change Your PIN numbers

Just as you do not want your spouse accessing your emails or texts, you also do not want them accessing your financial accounts. Change the PIN numbers on all of your bank accounts, credit cards, and debit cards. If you do not, your spouse may deplete the account of funds so they have control over them. While this may sound extreme, it happens more often than you think.

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