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The big issue in an Illinois divorce case, which has been going on for two years, isn't who gets the family home or custody of children, but rather: Who gets the dog?

Paul Barthel says he merely wants visitation rights with Pepper, the black lab/German shepherd mix that the he and his estranged wife Susan owned together, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. But Susan claims Paul's attempts to win pet visitation rights are merely a ploy to prolong the case and increase her costs. Susan was granted a protective order against Paul, barring him from trying to contact or get near her -- or the dog.

What prompted the protective order, and how does a court decide custody of pets in a divorce?

A Florida judge has ruled the state's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, but it doesn't mean same-sex nuptials can occur in the Sunshine State just yet.

Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis M. Garcia on Thursday ruled in favor of Aaron R. Huntsman and William Lee Jones after they applied for and were denied a marriage license in April. Judge Garcia's ruling overturned the state's prohibition on gay marriage, but it may not take effect until Tuesday, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

Does this mean Florida will soon be the 20th state to allow gay marriage?

What should you bring to your divorce consultation?

Before you hire a divorce attorney, you'll likely have a consultation during which the attorney can size up your case and answer your questions. But you shouldn't arrive to your divorce consultation empty-handed, otherwise your potential attorney may have little to say about your case.

Come prepared to your divorce consultation with at least these five things:

If you're getting married, you may be asked to enter into a prenuptial agreement. If so, you'll want to carefully consider the legal implications before you sign it.

As you probably know, a prenup can ensure that your interests are protected in the event your marriage doesn't last. But because it's a contract, you'll want to make sure you know exactly what you're agreeing to, and what may happen if the agreement is violated.

Here are three practical legal tips to consider before you sign off on your prenup:

Divorces can be grueling and emotional legal battles, and your divorce attorney is far better equipped to handle the fight than you on your lonesome.

Don't believe us? While we understand that you may be cutting ties because you're tired of being controlled and dependent on someone else, here are five things an experienced divorce lawyer can do that you probably can't:

A deployed sailor can breathe a bit easier, now that his child-custody hearing has been delayed until October.

Navy service member Matthew Hindes was ordered last week by a Michigan judge to appear in person in her courtroom for a hearing about custody of his 6-year-old daughter Kaylee. Though Hindes is currently deployed in the Pacific Ocean, he was threatened with contempt of court.

Hindes' situation drew more than 12,500 online signatures protesting the court's actions, which may have had something to do with the hearing being rescheduled, reports The Detroit News. So what exactly happened in this sailor's custody case?

It may not be sterling parenting to leave kids home alone, but is it legal?

Leaving a minor in your house without a babysitter or guardian may be asking for trouble. Then again, society doesn't expect every single parent to afford daycare or a nanny until his or her child is 18.

Maybe by examining the following legal precepts, parents will have a better understanding of whether it is legal to leave their kids home alone:

A deployed U.S. sailor serving on a submarine has been ordered to appear in court in a child custody battle over his daughter, but he's not likely to make it.

Matthew Hindes, a Navy submariner serving in the Pacific, has been ordered to appear in Michigan to fight his ex-wife's bid for custody of their 6-year-old daughter Kaylee. ABC's "Good Morning America" reports that Hindes was initially awarded permanent custody of his little girl in 2010, but now his legal status is in jeopardy.

If the active Navy member can't make it to court, will the judge hold him in contempt?

Is It Legal to Elope?

Couples caught up in the rush of young love may wish to elope instead of going through the rigors of a formal wedding.

But hold on there, all you Romeos and Juliets. Not that things didn't work out just peachy for the Shakespearean couple, but you should be familiar with what the law has to say first -- especially whether it's even legal to elope in your particular situation.

Here's what you need to know:

Father's Day is a great time to recognize the hard work and abundant rewards of being a father.

But it's also a great time for dads of all ages to take stock of their legal situation and to remember the great responsibility that comes with being a dad.

For this Father's Day, here are our Top 10 legal tips for dads: