In June 1958, Mildred Jeter, a black woman, married Richard Loving, a white man. Although the newlyweds were residents of Virginia, they married in the District of Columbia because Virginia had a criminal statute that prohibited interracial marriages between a white person and a person of color in addition to a statutory provision that rendered all such marriages void under the law.
Upon their return to Virginia, the Lovings received a grand jury indictment to which they pleaded guilty and were each sentenced to one year in prison. Their sentences were stayed upon the condition that they left the state of Virginia, never to return. The Lovings moved to the District of Columbia, and in 1963, they filed a motion to vacate the trial court judgment and to set aside the sentences under the Fourteenth Amendment.
The Virginia Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the antimiscegenation statutes and upheld the convictions. The Lovings appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which forever changed history when it held as follows: Continue reading →
Pet owners love their pets and view them as an important part of their family. Pet care is a multi-billion dollar industry, as evidenced by the increase in pet insurance, pet attire, specially made pet food, regular pet grooming services, and the number of pet pictures owners carry in their wallets. About a third of pet owners have taken time off work to care for sick pets, and a recent survey revealed that more pet owners would rather be stranded on a desert island with their pets than their spouse. With approximately half of all marriages in the United States ending in divorce, 39% of all households owning at least one dog, and 33% of all households owning at least one cat, it is inevitable that pet owners going through a divorce are bound to ask: “Who keeps Fido or Fluffy after the divorce?”
The reality is that, in Illinois, a pet is viewed as an item of personal property. In dividing the parties’ property, Illinois courts categorize property as either marital (i.e., belonging to both spouses) or non-marital (i.e., belonging to one spouse). The court then awards each party his or her non-marital property and an equitable portion of the marital property.
Non-marital property includes property acquired by gift, legacy or descent; property acquired before the marriage; and property excluded by valid agreement of the parties. In other words, if one of the parties owned the pet before the marriage or received the pet as a gift or part of an inheritance, or if the parties agreed who would own the pet after the marriage dissolved, the court would award the pet as part of that party’s non-marital property.