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:
- The pet is a companion animal;
- The well-being of the animal;
- The primary care-giver for the pet;
- 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.