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Cat Custody

One day, our client was informed his spouse planned to prolong the financial divorce until he agreed to give her all of the pets.  Angry and upset, our client risked jeopardizing his financial settlement to pursue his beloved cats that he cared for daily. He knew he could not give them up as it would be a death sentence to let his wife take the cats. He contacted us and developed a plan - both a financial plan to appease his wife and a custody plan for his cats.

He started gathering information that showed his wife did not provide for or care for the cats. The cats were adopted during his marriage, but in reality his wife never provided for the cats. He gathered information to show that he adopted the pets in his name, took all of the cats to the vet, bought and paid for their specialty food at the vet's office and sometimes online, and scheduled his work around being able to feed the cats in the morning and evening and attend their needed veterinary appointments.

His wife maintained throughout the case that she wanted all of the pets and our client felt it was just to spite him and cause him pain. His wife then requested if she could not be awarded all of the cats, she would take 2, and she requested the particular cats that were bonded with our client. Erin Birt maintained all along that our client would not consider relinquishing ownership of the pets to his wife that failed to demonstrate she was willing or capable of caring for the pets.

After meeting with the wife's attorney and presenting a plethora of evidence that supported our client's past record of caring for the pets, the attorney agreed that it would be fruitless to put this issue to the Judge at a trial. Although this case did proceed to a pretrial conference on the issue, the judge gave our client a favorable recommendation and he was able to avoid a costly trial. Our client was successful and was awarded the cats in the divorce. He avoided approximately 15k in litigation fees due to our well prepared settlement conference and the cats were protected by remaining with our client.

Practice area(s): Divorce / Separation

Court: DuPage County

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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