Numerous studies have shown that pets have a profoundly beneficial impact on our lives. In fact, the bonds that we create with dogs, cats, and other companion animals can be just as strong as the ones we create with other humans. Pets can even provide a variety of physical and mental health benefits for their owners, including lower blood pressure, reduced stress, lower levels of loneliness, and stronger immune systems for babies. Pets can also provide support for children with disabilities and autism, and they often help create an overall higher degree of happiness.
Because dogs, cats, and other pets quickly become irreplaceable members of our households, it can be difficult for both owners and the pets themselves when a divorce rips them away from us. However, by working with a skilled attorney, you can determine your best options for addressing ownership of your pets during your divorce.
A Pet’s Well-Being Is Taken Into Account During Pet “Custody” Disputes
There is good news for divorcing pet owners: Illinois recently passed a law that requires courts to take into consideration the well-being of pets when making decisions about pet custody, or, more accurately, pet ownership. While pets are still considered to be part of the marital property that should be divided between spouses, in many cases, spouses are able to come to an agreement regarding pet ownership, which can be sole or joint, just like child custody.
If a couple is unable to compromise, a judge’s decision will take into account what is best for the “companion animal.” This can include such factors as the following:
- The living accommodations for the pet.
- The work schedule of each party. For example, a spouse that travels constantly may not be able to provide quality care and attention.
- The presence of children in the household that would enrich the pet’s life.
- The presence of another non-maritally owned pet living with one of the parties that the pet has created an emotional bond with.
- The financial ability of each party to care for the pet.
- Which party has, in the past, demonstrated better caregiving qualities for the pet, such as taking the pet to the vet, grooming, talking the pet on walks, feeding the pet, purchasing food and toys, playing with the pet, etc.
A Wheaton Pet Custody Lawyer Can Help You Win Sole Ownership of Your Beloved Dog, Cat, or Other Pet
There is no way around it. Pets are part of the family, and Illinois law is finally catching up to reflect the importance that dogs, cats, and other animals have on our lives, as well as the impact that good owners have on animals’ lives. The skilled DuPage County divorce attorneys at the Andrew Cores Family Law Group can help you receive ownership of your pet. Give us a call at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation today.