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Legal FAQs


You are wise not to sign a lease you don’t completely understand. Generally, a lease should include the amount of the rent and when it is due, the length of the agreement, who is responsible for paying utilities, and any oral agreements the landlord made. If you have questions, consult with a lawyer. You may decide to ask the landlord about changing certain terms before signing the lease. Be sure to keep a signed copy with both signatures in a safe place.


In filing an Order of Protection, you are asking a judge to protect you and your family members from your abuser. No court fee is necessary. Furthermore, the local Sheriff’s office will not charge a fee to deliver a copy of your court papers to the respondent.


As a general rule, never pay upfront for help with student loans. If someone approaches you to assist for a fee, it is probably a scam. There are many legitimate services that provide help at no charge, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the National Consumer Law Center and the U.S. Department of Education. After learning about your loan repayment options, contact your service provider or debt collector if you’re behind on payments. More information is available on the Illinois Attorney General’s website at


A new Illinois law makes it easier for adoptees to find out more about the medical history of their birth parents. It expands on the Birth Certificate Law, enacted in 2010, which gave adopted adults access to their original birth certificates without obtaining a court order. A birth certificate can be obtained by contacting the Division of Vital Records, Illinois Department of Health.


In most states, the law defines pets as property. More cases are popping up, however, where judges do allow special testimony about the pet and make rulings that involve “visitation” rights. When considering who gets custody and/or visitation rights, the judge looks at several factors, such as who cared for and spent the most time with the pet, how well the pet was taken care of and where the parties will live after the divorce. If children are involved, the pet almost always remains in the home of the custodial parent.

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