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Should We Treat Pets as Children? A look into the rise of animal custody cases.
The division of assets and property are perhaps the most hotly contested issues when it comes to settling a divorce, especially when there are no minor children involved. But what about the dog you purchased right after you got married, or the cat you adopted when you moved in together? Who will get the little “baby” after the divorce? Animals custody cases are becoming an increasingly prevalent issue in our nation, and Illinois is no exception. Dog and cat ownership in the United States has quadrupled since the 1960s, and what we spend on our pet is more than double what it was in the 2000s. While there has been a large increase in pet ownership, legislatures have been reluctant to write statutes determining how to award pet custody in family law cases.
In any divorce proceeding, the issue of which party will have the right to claim the child or children for tax purposes must be determined either by agreement or by a judge. As any parent knows, receiving a child tax exemption can often be an opportunity to save a substantial amount of money come tax time. The Internal Revenue Code 152(e) clearly states that the custodial parent is entitled to the dependency exemption for their child. However, with many modern child visitation schedules providing increased parenting time for the non-residential parent, it is not always clear who should have the right to the tax benefits associated with the child.
Engagement Rings and Divorce
When a relationship dissolves and an engagement breaks off, it is not uncommon for controversy to arise over who has the legal right to the engagement ring. In determining the rightful and legal owner of the ring, Illinois courts look to which party ended the engagement. Unfortunately, because the couple was never actually married and therefore not going through a divorce the same rules do not apply as with married couples.
Ordinarily, if one spouse has a change of heart and unilaterally breaks the engagement, she or he is required to return the ring. The reasoning behind this policy is quite simple: the law rests on the notion that a gift given in contemplation of marriage (the ring) is conditional on the subsequent marriage of the parties. The party who breaks the condition has no right to any property acquired under such pretenses. Similarly, if the engagement is “mutually broken,” the ring should also be returned. For example, in situations where infidelity arises during the engagement, the cheating party is viewed as the cause for breaking the engagement and, therefore, will not have a claim to the engagement ring.
Parental alienation syndrome is a growing concern paralleling the rise of divorce and children born out of wedlock over the past few decades. This relatively new phenomenon has spiked major disputes from both the legal and psychological communities as to how to identify and manage the condition.
Parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is considered “brainwashing” because one parent will routinely talk about the other parent to the child in a derogatory manner to the point that the child begins to harbor the same beliefs. This manipulative behavior can be highly destructive and can cause long-term detriment to parent/child relationships. It can also have a negative impact on the child’s psychological development.
Regardless of whether you will be participating in mediation on a voluntary basis or through a court order, it is important to maximize your time to achieve the most desirable outcome. Even though mediation is a collaborative effort intended to bestow mutual accord, this does not mean it will be smooth sailing, or even that any agreements will be made. Successful mediation requires a lot more than two opposing sides sitting in a room, here’s how to get the most out of it:
Come to mediation with a plan…
On your quest to find the best divorce lawyers in Chicago, you will probably scour the internet and look for popular reviews, read any and all negative feedback, and research the attorney’s experience to make an informed decision. If you have friends or family who hired a Chicago divorce attorney you will most likely consult them for recommendations, good and bad. If you are doing most of these things, you are on the right track, but caution must be used when navigating the internet, here’s why….
In Illinois, the law considers a marriage annulment a “declaration of invalidity of marriage.” It is a court order stating the marriage is not valid and therefore, should not be recognized by the state. A marriage annulment is different from a divorce. A divorce recognizes that a valid marriage is now over. Essentially, an annulment treats the marriage as though it never happened.
In Illinois there are four bases for requesting an annulment in Illinois:
WHAT CHICAGO FAMILY LAW FIRMS MAY NOT TELL YOU
It has become increasingly undeniable that we live in a very litigious society. Even with simple tasks such as entering to win a free cup of coffee, getting a new credit card or signing up for an email list, you are bombarded with extensive, confusing legal jargon. Moreover, when dividing assets during a divorce or negotiating child custody arrangements, things can get really convoluted to a lay person. We certainly can’t change the way the world works, but we can try to bring some simplicity into your lives, by sharing information on what many Chicago family law firms may not tell you.