What Happens to Pets in an Illinois Divorce?

Posted on in Pets in Divorce

Wheaton divorce attorney for pet custodyFor couples who have decided to get a divorce, one issue that may catch them unprepared is how to deal with the family pet, if they have one. In some cases, a pet may be beloved by both spouses, and neither one can imagine life without it. The law, of course, provides guidelines on how to deal with issues involving children of divorcing parents, and decisions about the allocation of parental responsibility and parenting time are made based on what is in children’s best interests. However, pets are often a different story.

Changes to the Laws on Pet Ownership After Divorce

While divorce has been around for a long time, new and increasingly complex issues often arise in divorce cases. As a result, legislatures must pass new laws to address or respond to these new issues. Illinois is no exception, and one area the legislature has recently addressed is pet ownership after divorce.

In the past, pets were treated as property, and therefore, their ownership was determined in the same manner as all other marital property. However, there is no rational way to split ownership of a pet based on a percentage, neither is it humane to treat a pet the same as a piece of furniture. When factoring in the emotional nature of decisions related to family pets, the need for the legislature to act on these matters becomes evident.


Who Gets the Pets in a Divorce?

Posted on in Pets in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois divorce laws,Many people develop close emotional attachments to their pets. Forcing these individuals to spend any length of time away from their animal companions is (for them) akin to asking them to remain separated from their spouse or child. But Illinois divorce courts do not treat family pets in the same manner as they treat children, no matter how emotionally attached one or both parties are to the pet. How, then, does an Illinois court decide who gets the family dog (or other pet)?

Pets Are Treated as Property in an Illinois Divorce

Like many other jurisdictions throughout the United States, pets are treated as items of property. This means that during the divorce proceedings the court will determine which party gets to retain custody and control of the pet. Like other items of property divided during the divorce, there are no “visitation rights” when it comes to seeing the family pet after a divorce. In other words, if the court awards the family dog to your ex-spouse, it will not order that you be allowed regular opportunities to visit with the dog.


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