Anderson & Boback Logo

How Are Pets Treated in Dissolution Proceedings?

Categorized as Pet Custody

For many people, pets are more than just animals. They are beloved members of the family. So, what happens to pets when couples divorce?

Currently in Illinois, pets or “companion animals” are treated as personal property in dissolution proceedings. If parties are unable to come to an agreement, then the court will want to know facts that relate to the parties’ financial interests. Who originally purchased the companion animal or paid the adoption fee? Who paid the veterinary bills? Who buys the companion animal’s supplies and food? As of January 1, 2018, companion animals in Illinois will be treated more like family members. A new divorce law will go into effect on that date. With the new law, parties will be able to enter into an agreement allocating sole or joint ownership and responsibility of a jointly owned companion animal.

If a dispute arises regarding the companion animal, either party will be able to petition the court for the temporary allocation of possession and responsibility of the companion animal.

If the court determines that the companion animal is a marital asset, then the court will decide allocation of ownership and responsibility of the companion animal. In deciding who the companion animal will live with, the court will take into consideration the companion animal’s well-being. The new law is valuable for companion animals in Illinois, as they will no longer be treated as property, such as vehicles, furniture, appliances, etc.

The court will want to know who takes care of the companion animal. Who feeds the animal, changes their water, takes the animal for walks, etc.? What do the parties do for a living? Does their employment involve travel or are they home on a regular basis? These types of questions will be relevant as of January 1, 2018.

Disputes over pets can be highly contested issues, it is best to speak to an experienced attorney if you have any questions.

Was this information helpful?

You May Also Like

What Is Child Support? Child support is the terminology used to describe the periodic or ongoing payments one parent makes to the other following a divorce to assist in raising their shared children. Child support is thus a combination of…

Wonder if your spousal maintenance is modifiable? This question was addressed in Scarp v. Rahman when the father in the case of sought to modify his maintenance obligation.  The trial court would not allow the modification so he sought an…

Birthdays are a big deal to kids - they usually get a party with their friends with cake, balloons, presents, and if they are lucky, a ball pit to jump into at Chucky Cheese! The day is all about them.…

Our firm represents a lot of military families and for the most part, handling a military divorce is just like any other divorce.  There are specific rules that need to be followed, however, and those parents in the military facing…

Changes to Spousal Maintenance Law in Illinois In 2019, a significant change in the tax code was made regarding maintenance, which resulted in spousal maintenance (formerly known as “alimony”, also known as “spousal support”) being tax-free to the recipient and…

Illinois has modified its statutes wherein parents are now allocated “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time” instead of “custody”.  The purpose of these changes was to try and give the parents less to fight over.  You can win “custody” but winning…

Anderson & Boback small logo

Download our Divorce Planning Guide today!

Get the information you need to prepare for divorce with our free resource Guide to Planning for Your Divorce.

What our clients are saying

Schedule a Discreet Consultation Today!

    Firm Overview

    Anderson & Boback is a highly-respected, experienced Chicago family law firm, skilled in negotiation and litigation. When divorce and other family law issues make your life chaotic and uncertain, you want your case resolved as quickly and fairly as possible. Call Now 312-715-0870