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Posted on in Pet Custody

New Pet Custody Law Goes Into Effect in 2018Determining pet custody is complicated in a divorce because it involves aspects of the division of marital property and traditional custody concerns. Illinois’ divorce laws define pets as property, which can be marital or non-marital depending on when ownership started. However, most owners think of their pets in a way that is similar to children. A new Illinois law, going into effect at the start of 2018, changes how pet ownership is treated in a divorce to more closely align with how many owners think of them. Pets are a responsibility that can be shared between divorcing spouses, instead of merely a property that one party gets to keep.


The law introduces terms that are important to understanding the nature of pet custody during a divorce:

Posted on in Division of Property

b2ap3_thumbnail_QDRO.jpgA qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) is a legal order that allows an individual to receive money from a retirement account that he or she does not own. This order allows the court to alter a retirement plan's ownership to allow this transfer of money during or after a divorce. When an additional party becomes named as an owner of a retirement plan through a QDRO, he or she becomes known as an alternate payee.

The court may order that a couple sign a QDRO as part of their divorce. This document is a key part of the division of the couple's property – retirement accounts are generally considered to be marital property. Signing a QDRO is a way for the court to guarantee that the spouse whose name is not listed on the retirement account can receive a fair share of the money contained within the account. It can also be used to ensure that the owner's child can benefit from the money contained within the account through child support payments or property transfers.

Dividing a Retirement Plan through a QDRO

Posted on in Divorce

 division of assets, division of marital assets, divorcing couples, emotional divorce, estate planning documents, Kane County divorce attorney, liquidity of assets, marital property, non-marital propertyCouples typically do not enter into a marriage wanting to get divorced. Unfortunately, however, divorce happens. If you do not have a prenuptial agreement in place then you may be in for a long, arduous, and emotional process. (Even with a prenuptial agreement, you might be in for a long, arduous, and emotional process.) You can simplify this process by avoiding the mistakes that some divorcing couples make.

First it is important to understand the difference between marital property and non-marital property. Generally, the law presumes that all property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is marital property. There are exceptions, including property acquired by gift, legacy, or descent. Once property is classified as marital, a court will determine how to divide it equitably. Note that “equitable” does not necessarily mean “equal.” A court will consider various factors when dividing the property, including, but not limited to:

  • The contributions of each spouse to the marital property, including a spouse’s contribution as a homemaker;
  • The value of the property assigned to each spouse;
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • Whether either spouse will be receiving maintenance payments;
  • The economic circumstances of each party when the division of property takes effect;
  • Each party’s age, health, occupation, employability, sources of income; and
  • Who is awarded custody of the children.

These factors are not weighted equally and are only a few of the considerations that a court will make.

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