Pet ownership is at an all-time high, with upwards of 65% percent of U.S. households counting a dog or cat as a family member. When couples divorce, they are often faced with the heart wrenching decision of who will get the family pet, dogs and cats long-viewed as property to be divided in a divorce.
When there is a dispute over ownership of a pet in a divorce, a judge may look to who can demonstrate a greater property interest. The party who can show a receipt for the purchase or adoption a pet, receipts for trips to the veterinarian, and/or receipts for pet food or medication may be viewed as the party who has taken a greater interest in the pet and therefore holds the greater property interest.
That said, if both parties have a sincere interest in shared ownership of a pet, it may be that the judge will decide that both parties can spend time with the pet after a divorce. Fortunately for pet owners in Illinois, legislation that passed in 2018, allows judges in a divorce proceeding to consider the physical and emotional well-being of a pet, not merely as property to be divided in a divorce.
If you are considering divorce and have concerns regarding the family pet custody, it is important to discuss your situation with an experienced Illinois divorce settlement attorney who can work toward a favorable resolution. Contact the Libertyville family law attorneys of Schlesinger & Strauss LLC for immediate assistance today at 847-680-4970.