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Determining Pet Custody during Divorce

Posted on in Pet Custody

b2ap3_thumbnail_pet-custody.jpgFor thousands couples throughout the United States, pets are members of the family. For these couples, the pet's custody can be a prominent issue during their divorce.

In Illinois, pets are considered to be personal property. This means that they are divided among divorcing couples in the same way that property such as cars, household decor, and recreational items are divided – according to their monetary value. In Illinois, each partner receives a portion of the couple's shared property according to his or her contribution to the marriage's shared property value and his or her economic needs following the divorce. This is known as equitable distribution and is outlined in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. If one spouse owned the pet before the marriage began, the pet may be considered to be singly-held property and thus not subject to property division rules.

If you have an amicable relationship with your former spouse, the best option for you is to work out a pet custody plan among yourselves. Determine which household is better suited to keep the animal – maybe only one of you has adequate yard space for a dog, or one of you lives in an apartment that does not allow pets. Another solution might be to take turns caring for the pet or keep the pet on the same custody schedule as your child, having the pet go to each household during the parent's scheduled custodial time. In some cases, the custodial parent is also awarded custody of the family pet.

Building a Case for Keeping your Pet

Sometimes, couples cannot reach an agreement regarding their pet's custody after their divorce. When this happens, each partner must prepare a case for his or her fitness to keep the pet and submit it to the court.

If you need to take this route to prove that you are better suited to keeping your pet than your former spouse, you will need to show the court the financial investment you have made in the pet over the course of its life. This includes its boarding, grooming, veterinary care, and adoption fees as well as its food, housing, and other day-to-day pet needs.

Keep all receipts of the money you spend on your pet. You may also need to prove that your household is a more appropriate place for the animal to live by showing that you own your home and that you have adequate space for your pet.

Divorce Attorneys in Kane County

Your pet is a member of your family. If you are going through the divorce process, you might be understandably worried about whether you will lose your pet and should contact a skilled Kane County family law attorney. Call Goostree Law Group to learn more about pet custody in Illinois divorces. Let us facilitate an agreement between you and your spouse regarding your pet or help you build a strong claim for taking custody of the pet.

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