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Which Spouse Gets Custody of the Dog in an Illinois Divorce?

Posted on in Illinois Divorce

St. Charles divorce attorney child custody

Having a dog is an integral part of many family dynamics these days. Pets are there to offer comfort, provide companionship, give unconditional love, and more. They often become near and dear to the hearts of all family members. You may have heard the saying, “Dogs are a man’s best friend,” but what if they are a woman’s best friend, too? When it comes to divorce and allocating responsibility of the pet, things can become complicated. With more and more families opting not to have children, the custody of the family pet can be an especially important issue in an Illinois divorce.

Pets Are More Than Just Property

The connection to pets runs deep, and it can be traumatic for any dog owner who is faced with the idea of separation. In the past, according to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, the division of a pet was classified under property and treated as such. Some pet owners considered this to be a somewhat cold approach, and therefore they fought to change this. Since January 1, 2018, a new law was put in place that allocated judges to consider the best welfare of the pet when contemplating which spouse should be awarded custody. This new legislation treats the allocation of pets more like deciding the custody of a child rather than the division of property.

However, there are some exceptions in regards to the division of animals:

  • The dog was acquired before the marriage and is not a part of the marital relationship.

  • The dog is a service animal. In this case, the dog will remain with the spouse to whom it is providing assistance. 

It is up to the judge to decide if one or both are capable of providing the care needed to upkeep the wellness of the animal. These criteria may change depending on the judge. However, this may include who usually fed, walked, groomed, and took care of the dog’s essential needs. If it is found that both partners are capable of taking care of the dog to the highest extent, then both spouses may be granted custody.

Contact a St. Charles Divorce Attorney

At Weiler and Lengle PC, we understand the emotional bond that is developed among humans and pets. We also recognize how stressful the divorce process, in general, can be, and we are here to assist you throughout the proceedings. We will protect your rights and fight for the custody of your beloved pet. If you are thinking about getting a divorce, contact one of our knowledgeable Kane County divorce lawyers today at 630-382-8050. 

 

Sources:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/fulltext.asp?Name=100-0422

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/breaking/ct-met-pet-custody-law-20171218-story.html

 

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