Pet Custody Disputes During A Divorce
People love their pets. Pets have become an increasingly contentious issue in divorce proceedings.
While pet custody may feel personal to you, it is important to remember that the court views pets as property – not like a member of the family. Currently Illinois courts lack legal authority to order pet custody or visitation.
You Both Love Your Pet, But Who Should Have Custody?
At Boyle Feinberg Sharma (BFS), we encourage our clients to explore custody arrangements and dispute resolution methods that preserve important relationships. This may involve:
- Having a pet custody schedule that coincides with a child custody schedule: Your family pet is likely important to your children. It may be wise to provide your kids with a sense of stability in the divorce process by helping them keep the family pet with them no matter whose house they are at.
- Alternating custody schedules so each party has fair and equitable time with the pet: This may mean you and your former spouse share legal custody and switch off physical custody of the pet at different intervals (i.e., every other week, every other month, etc.).
- Determining full custody of the pet according to the pet’s best interests: One party in a divorce may have a closer bond with the pet than the other. One party may have a job that does not allow them to spend meaningful time with the pet on a regular basis. Perhaps one party simply cannot afford the cost of owning and caring for the pet. These issues should be considered when you determine who should have full custody.
To learn more about how we can help, contact our Chicago area office online or by telephone at 312-376-8860 and arrange an initial consultation with an experienced lawyer at our family law firm located in Chicago and Arlington Heights.