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Pets and Divorce: Including the Puppy in the Prenup

 Posted on December 28, 2018 in Prenuptial Agreement

Lombard Prenup Lawyer 

For many people, pets are a part of the family. You get them when they are young and you take care of them as they grow older, much like parents do with their children. Whether the pet is a dog, cat, bird, or reptile, many pet owners view their pets as children as well. 

Divorce means the division of assets between two spouses, but also a decision on who gets the pet after the divorce papers are signed. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are a way to make these decisions while a couple's relationship is in a good place, instead of during the often contentious divorce process if they reach that unfortunate conclusion. Much of the negative perception regarding these agreements has faded in the public consciousness because couples now see the value of expecting the best but planning for the worst.

Pets in the Eyes of the Court

In most states, pets are solely regarded as property and are treated as such. Illinois is one of the few states that has made progress in the pet department. In 2017, Illinois and Alaska passed bills that allow judges to consider the well-being of an animal when making these decisions, and California recently followed suit. This bill also allows judges to grant joint custody of the pet if they believe it is the best option for the animal. Though many divorce cases do not end up going through full litigation, custody of children and pets often brings emotions to an all-time high.

Should My Pet Be in My Prenup?

Prenuptial agreements have gained in popularity as many millennials have chosen to marry later in life. Prenups and postnuptial agreements are a safe way for couples to cover all potential areas of concern if they get divorced. One of the primary reasons prenups are signed is to decide who gets what if a divorce occurs. 

Pet decisions can be made through prenup or postnup agreements. In addition to custody and visitation, it may also include an allowance for expenses related to the pet’s care in spousal maintenance payments, to cover food and regular vet bills. Because pets have become such an integral part of American households, it is smart to make these decisions before emotions run high in case of a divorce. Prenuptial agreements can be edited throughout a marriage as new belongings are acquired, allowing for more pets to be added as time goes on.

Contact a Lombard, IL Family Law Attorney

At A. Traub & Associates, we understand pets are more than just a belonging. It is important for pet lovers going through a divorce to have an attorney who will treat their animals as a part of the family. If you are a pet owner who wants to create a prenup or postnup simply to take precautions for the worst-case scenario, contact our DuPage County family law attorneys at 630-426-0196 for a consultation.


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