Who gets the dog in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Feb 24, 2021 | family law |

Families in Will County who have a pet generally have a deep sentimental attachment to the animal, often feeling like their pet is a member of their family. Therefore, when married pet owners decide to divorce, they will likely be concerned about whether they can keep their pet or whether their pet will go to their ex.

Pets are property in the eyes of most states

It may dismay divorcing pet owners to learn that in most states the law considers pets to be property in a divorce, the same as the house, car and furniture. This means that the pet will be awarded to either one party or the other based on the state’s property division laws. Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state for property division purposes, meaning that all marital assets will be divided based on fairness, even if this does not mean an exact 50-50 split.

Pet custody plans

While most states view pets as property, Illinois is one of the few states that allows courts to order a pet parenting plan, not unlike a child custody order. The standard courts will do in such situations is the best interests of the pet.

Similarly, if a divorcing couple is able, they can work out a pet custody plan out-of-court that they will follow post-divorce that will allow each of them to spend time with the pet. A pet custody plan should be detailed and in writing. It should describe who has the pet when, who will make medical decisions regarding the pet, whether they can take the pet to other states and what they will do if they have a future disagreement concerning the pet.

Learn more about divorce issues in Illinois

Pets are cherished members of the family and should be treated as such if their owners divorce. Ultimately this post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Those who want to learn more about their rights and options in a divorce are encouraged to explore our firm’s website for further information.


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