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What Happens with a Family Pet in an Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on March 28, 2024 in Divorce

IL divorce lawyerThere are some topics related to divorce that people are familiar with. These include child custody, alimony, and the division of assets. There are several topics that are less widely known. One of these lesser-known topics refers to family pets. What happens to a pet when the owners get a divorce? This article will review this interesting topic, but if you are considering divorce and want to know whether you can keep your pet with you, speak with an experienced Naperville, IL divorce lawyer to find out more.

Who Gets to Keep Our Dog?

Pets used to be considered a type of property in the state of Illinois, until a law was added to the Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act in 2018 that stipulates that companion pets can be treated similarly to children. Spouses ending their marriage have more “pet custody” options now. They can be granted joint ownership and even have visitation plans now, similar to parenting plans for children.

How Do the Courts Decide?

Illinois courts consider several factors when deciding what will happen to a couple’s pet. Similar to considerations for child custody, the aim is to determine what type of arrangement would be in the pet’s best interest. The couple will need to submit documentation reflecting that the pet has been vaccinated and groomed, other medical information, receipts of purchases from pet stores, and testimony from staff at a veterinarian’s office and any dog groomers or trainers employed can be used to provide a fuller picture of the pet’s home life.

The judge will want to know how long the pet has lived with the couple, whether it was owned by either spouse before the marriage, how many pets the couple has owned, what the pet’s daily routine is, which spouse generally handles the majority of the pet’s daily routine, whether the children are attached to the pet, what living conditions - including yards or access to fresh air - are present at each spouse’s new residential arrangement.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Naperville, IL Family Law Attorney

If you and your spouse want to end your marriage and you find yourself confused about all the aspects involved, speak with a knowledgeable DuPage County, IL divorce lawyer. Whether you have questions about child custody, child support, the fate of your family home, or where your pet will end up living, our team at Pesce Law Group, P.C. will work in your best interest and is focused on giving you peace of mind. Call 630-352-2240 to schedule a free consultation.

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