Illinois Divorce and Family Law Weblog

Helping You and Your Family get through DivorceSM.
Weblog of DuPage County Attorney Raiford D. Palmer, focusing on divorce and family law.
(Copyright© 2005-2008 by Raiford D. Palmer. All rights reserved.) This blog is for advertising only and the contents are not legal advice.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Illinois Divorce Law - Marital Property - Recovery of Education Expenses

Under certain circumstances, a spouse can be compensated for his/her contributions to the education of the other spouse. For example, where a spouse pays for the law school education of the other and the couple divorces after a short time, the paying spouse can be compensated for the contributions to the education during the marriage. In re Marriage of Abma, 720 N.E.2d 645 (1st Dist. 1999). This can be a substantial sum for advanced educations (MBA, doctor, attorneys) and should not be overlooked in determining a fair property settlement.

On the other hand, the education itself is not marital property. Illinois law holds that a degree, education, license, and future earning capacity are not marital property. See In re Marriage of Weinstein, 470 N.E.2d 551 (1st. Dist. 1984).

If you need counsel for a divorce matter, please call me, attorney Raif Palmer at 630.434.0400, dial zero and ask to schedule an appointment. Initial consults are free of charge.

You can always email as well.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Illinois Divorce - Personal Property - Division of Animals and Pets in Divorce

Occasionally we get questions about pets and animals in divorce cases. This may come up regarding the family dogs, or in a situation involving family owned horses or farm animals. Essentially the law in Illinois treats them like property rather than children (pet lovers please hold off on emailing me your protests)! That is, pets are divided "equitably" just like the furniture, computers, and camping gear. There is no "pet visitation" or anything like that. So, short of a settlement with your spouse over the pets, the court will likely divide up the animals between the parties as equally as possible.

The rules for marital and nonmarital property apply. The main determining factor will likely be whether the pet was acquired before or during the marriage. If before the marriage, generally the person who purchased the pet will keep it. If during the marriage, the court will try to divide the pets equitably (fairly) between the parties. If you have an odd number of pets, the court will simply decide who gets the last (or only) "marital" pet, and sometimes it can't be a very scientific process. There is no easy answer regarding awarding one "marital" animal to a party in the marriage, unless the facts make it clear. If you are talking about an animal with substantial value (horse, etc.) then the court will consider financial compensation for a fair share of the value of the animal to the other spouse. In some cases expert testimony may be needed to prove the value of animals (like cattle, racehorses).

I am a DuPage County, Illinois divorce lawyer. My law firm profile page is here with contact info. Please call or email to schedule a consultation about your family law matter.

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