On January 1, 2018, a new law regarding pet custody in Illinois made its debut. In the past, pets were divided between the divorced couple like furniture or a vehicle. If a spouse acquired the pet before marriage, it would be awarded to them. In the event the pet was acquired during marriage, the judge would be required to award the pet to one spouse and reimburse the other for half the pet’s value.
Now, however, a judge will be able to take the well-being of the pet into consideration before granting custody. They can consider who spent more time cleaning out a fish tank or walks and feeds the dog on a regular basis and award pet custody based on this information. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of this new law.
Most people consider their pet as an important member of their family. In the past, spouses were hurt because pets were treated like furniture rather than a family member that deserves to be loved and cared for.
Prior to this new pet custody law, attorneys could not play a significant role in helping a divorcing spouse keep their pet. In most cases, couples were responsible for collaborating to figure out who would keep the family pet. Today, the spouse who has cared for the pet is the one that will likely be awarded custody.
Joint custody is an option for couples who would like to share ownership of their family pet. Since it is rare for one spouse to care for a pet entirely on their own during a marriage, joint custody of the family pet is typically the fairest.
While there are many pros of the new pet custody law, there are a few cons. The new pet custody law can make divorce cases a bit more complicated. For example, if you and your spouse did not have any children but had a pet together, custody rather than just finances is involved in your case.
If you and your spouse cannot agree on a pet custody decision, your divorce may become a longer, more expensive process. Additionally, judges may not know much about a pet’s role in your marriage so it can be difficult for them to make a decision based on their well-being.
Contact Our DuPage County Divorce Attorneys
If you would like more information on the new pet custody law or are wondering how it applies to your specific divorce case, we encourage you to reach out to our experienced DuPage County divorce attorneys. Call us at 630-932-9100.
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