New Illinois Pet Custody Law 2018

Posted by Erin Birt | Jan 02, 2018 | 0 Comments

There is a new Illinois Pet Custody Law.  Starting January 1, 2018, Illinois Judges can consider the well-being of a pet when awarding sole or joint ownership during a divorce.  Previously, pets were considered property.  The pet, as well as the financial responsibility for the pet, was simply allocated to one spouse, similar to a car.

Factors to Consider

The new law likely allows a judge to consider the following when determining pet ownership:

  1. The pet is a companion animal;
  2. The well-being of the animal;
  3. The primary care-giver for the pet;
  4. The financial ability to care for the pet.

Problems with the New Law

While it may appear straight forward, determining the issue of the well-being of a pet can be complicated. The new law does not define “companion animals” and the factors for “well-being”.  You should consult with our experienced family law and divorce attorney to discuss your best options for pet ownership issues.

Birt Law Divorce Tip

Our divorce tip – gather all of your pet ownership documents, veterinarian records, and pet training/obedience records and schedule a divorce consultation with our office to review your documents and discuss your likelihood of maintaining the ownership of your beloved pet after your divorce.

About the Author

Erin Birt

Since 2003, Erin N. Birt, J.D., CADC has focused her practice on parenting time, divorce, mediation, and substance abuse issues. Ms. Birt's unique background in both family law and addictions counseling help her clients successfully navigate the complex issues of coparenting and divorce. Ms. Birt also devotes her time to presenting at continuing education seminars for attorneys, mediators, and counselors.


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