Knowledgeable, Effective Guidance

What happens to your pet when you divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2022 | Divorce |

Unlike other states, Illinois has established laws that deal with pet custody when you divorce. Regardless of how much you believe your pet is a member of the family, in most states, they are considered property. Under this arrangement, the pet is treated as property and part of the property division process. 

However, Illinois law gives judges the option to treat pets like children during a divorce. They can consider the pet’s best interest when deciding who will retain possession of it when the divorce is final. 

What factors play a role in who gets the pet after a divorce?

When you are divorcing with a pet or pets involved, the judge will consider a few things when determining “custody.” For example, they will consider who spends more time with the pet and who is responsible for its health can care. They will also look at which person has spent more money to care for the animal. 

How pets were dealt with during divorce in the past

Before the law was changed in 2017, Illinois also treated pets as property and divided them this way. Usually, they were awarded to one person. Today, some judges provide “joint ownership” of the pet. 

Understanding your rights to pets in an Illinois divorce

It’s important to understand your obligations and rights when it comes to pets in your Illinois divorce. It may also be a good idea to seek professional assistance with this if you and your spouse disagree about who should keep the animal. Just like child custody, some issues relating to pets can be emotional and hard to deal with alone, so knowing your legal options and using the rights you have is recommended to help you get the desired outcome.