Pets are important members of families, and when a marriage ends in divorce, deciding who gets “custody” of the beloved family pet can be a difficult issue for couples to work out. In Illinois, pets are generally treated as property in the context of a divorce. This means that the court will consider the same factors that it would consider when dividing other marital property. However, unlike other properties, pets are often seen as family members, and the court may consider this when making its decision.
In Illinois, all property a part of the marriage, also known as marital property, shall be divided in a manner that is reasonable to both divorcing parties. This means that the court, when deciding how to split marital property, will look at many things, including the length of the marriage, the impact each spouse has had on the marital estate, and the economic circumstances of each spouse. To ensure you understand what your divorce will entail, hire the services of a qualified divorce attorney to understand all matters pertaining to the divorce, including how custody of your pet will likely be decided.
Here is What You Need to Know About Pets and Illinois Divorce
When it comes to pets, the court may consider factors such as who primarily cares for the pet, who has the financial means to care for the pet, and what the pet’s best interests are. For example, if one spouse has always been the primary caregiver for the pet and has the means to continue to care for the pet after the divorce, the court may be more likely to award the pet to that spouse.
However, if both parties have been equally involved in the care of the pet, the court may decide that the divorcing parties will share custody of the pet, similar to how they would share the custody of a child. It is worth noting that some divorcing couples in Illinois have turned to alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation or collaborative divorce, to come to an agreement about who should get the pet. These methods can be less adversarial than going through the court system and can help parties come to a solution that works for everyone involved.
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Source – http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050K503.htm