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Who gets Custody of a Pet after a Divorce?

 Posted on November 16, 2012 in Divorce

During a divorce, many things are changed irrevocably.  The house that you have shared with your family might belong to your ex.   Assets that you have worked for including your retirement funds may be divided depending on the situation of your spouse.  Illinois is an equitable distribution state which does not mean that property is split 50/50.  But what happens if the property is not really property?

For people who have pets, they generally treat them like family.  It is not crazy to see grown up people talk to their dogs and cats in baby talk.  There are also opportunities to spoil pets and kids with treats and toys and hugs and kisses.  In a lot of ways they are more similar than dissimilar.  The difficult truth about divorce is that pets are normally treated like property, which may create a difficult situation for either spouse.

So what are the parameters for deciding who gets to keep Fido?  Sometimes, it is who takes the dogs for walks.  Sometimes, it is the person who pays for the dog, including the initial purchase, veterinarian bills, and food.  Other parameters might be in play if there are multiple animals.  Maybe one party gets the cat and the other gets the dog.  Another issue for pet custody is value of a pet.

If you are seeking a divorce, make sure you bring all the issues to the table.  It is much easier to address concerns during the process rather than post-decree modifications.  For any questions about divorce, or to begin the filing process, please reach out to an experienced family law attorney in Cook County.

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