There are many issues that can become contentious in a divorce. One of the biggest may be what happens to your pets. Since Illinois considers pets to be property, they can be divided similar to all other property. However, there are special considerations the courts make when determining who gets custody of a pet in an Orland Park divorce.

A well-versed divorce attorney can help you make sure you get to maintain a relationship with your pet. We understand that your pet is family and can help you express that throughout divorce negotiations.

How Custody of Pets Is Determined

Pets are generally considered personal property. However, when the pet was adopted will determine whether it is considered marital property and therefore subject to property division in a divorce or individual property and would stay with the original owner.

Since Illinois is a community property state, as long as the pet was adopted during the marriage, it is considered marital property and thereby subject to division. However, Illinois did recently pass a pet law whereby one party can seek visitation. This means that either party can obtain a court order that allows the pets to be seen by either party or both parties during certain timeframes.

If an animal is officially a companion animal to one party, that party would have to prove this to be able to obtain custody. This is usually done with proof of training or certification that goes with it. Otherwise, the court would decide who primarily cared for the animal during the marriage. Further, if there are children involved, the court will consider whether they grew up with the pet and their emotional attachment to the pet. The court will then most likely keep the pet with the children.

Finally, there is a provision that protects pets against the potential abuser if domestic violence was involved. To further discuss how pets are treated in a divorce, it is important to consult a knowledgeable attorney.

Why Is Custody of Animals Contentious

Even though either party can request visitation, it can still be difficult to accept that pets are considered property and thereby subject to division. Determining who has primary custody of a pet can become contentious, especially because the court does not consider the emotional value attached to a pet.

Another reason determining custody of a pet is so contentious is that one spouse will often use the pet to put pressure on the other spouse. They may try to use the pet as leverage to try to influence other negotiations. This makes working with a dedicated attorney who can advocate for your interests critical.

An Orland Park Attorney Can Explain What Happens to Pets in a Divorce

Even though you consider your pet to be a family member, state law considers it property. Therefore, it is important to work with a compassionate attorney who can work to advocate for your interests. A well-versed Orland Park lawyer can guide you through the divorce process and help you reach a pet custody arrangement that works for you. Call Reidy Law Office LLC for the help you need.