Ruffled Feathers: Who Gets the Pets?

Let an experienced Chicago Divorce lawyer help you!

divorce_and_pets

If you are facing a divorce, contact us today.

When around 50% of all households in Illinois have at least one pet, a good portion of divorces every day require thought about this issue. To some, pets are every bit a member of the family, which can be a problem because Illinois law views pets as personal property. Because of this, pet custody is a strange blend of kid and couch: something where custody is important, but no legal guidelines are in place to protect it.

First of all, when you’re determining pet custody, remember that the most important element is where the pet will receive the highest level of care. Extent of travel, a busy schedule, and the pet’s own preferences can give an easy answer to this, even though one party may find it hard to accept. Custody arrangements are something that can be decided outside of court, mirroring an allocation of parental responsibilities arrangement like alternating weeks or months, or splitting weeks and weekdays.

With some work, there is a possible advantage to the fact that a pet is considered property by the court. If you can demonstrate to the court that you have a greater interest in this piece of property (the pet), you have a solid case for custody. Determining personal property in this way requires receipts for the pet’s adoption, vet bills, food, medicine, or classes. This financial investment shows that the property is more personal than joint.

Keep an eye out for a partner whose interest is not in the pet itself, but rather in manipulating your emotions to using the pet to obtain another divorce asset. When strong emotional bonds like the one between you and your pet are in play, it’s important to have someone on your side whose negotiation skills will remain sharp to secure custody without relinquishing anything else. Contact a Chicago Divorce lawyer at The Law Offices of Michael P. Doman today.