Chicago Pet Custody Lawyer
Let’s face it—we love our pets. In fact, many people consider their pets to be their children. So when couples divorce, they are often disappointed that the law does not feel the same way.
Because of this, fighting over cats and dogs can leave spouses fighting like cats and dogs. The good news is that Illinois is progressive in the way it treats animals in a divorce. In the past, pets were treated like property, like your car or furniture.
That has changed. Contact a Chicago pet custody lawyer from Birnbaum Gelfman Sharma & Arnoux, LLC to learn more about pet custody in a divorce.
Pet Custody and Illinois Law
Each state has extensive laws in place for child custody, but what if a couple has no children except for furry or feathered ones? There is usually no precedent in place, but with pet custody issues becoming a hot topic, state lawmakers are taking notice. Just several states have pet custody and visitation laws in place, but Illinois is one of them.
As of January 1, 2018, a judge is allowed to take the pet’s well-being into consideration when allocating custody of a pet. This follows the “best interest of the child” standard that is used in child custody cases. This may mean things such as, which person has the stronger bond with the pet? Who does the pet like more?
This new law allows the courts to treat animals more like children, which is good for pet parents who have no human children of their own. It can be devastating to have to treat their beloved pet like an object. The law only applies to companion animals (pets), not service animals. Plus, the pet must be a marital asset. If a person has their own pet that they are bringing into a marriage, they get to keep that pet, as it is considered separate property.
Preparing for Pet Custody
If you and your partner have a pet before you get married, there is something you can do to protect your ownership and custody rights in the event of a divorce: get a prenuptial agreement. Such a legal document can outline custody and visitation rights should the marriage end. That way, there are no surprises when a divorce is imminent. The courts in Illinois will enforce a prenuptial agreement as long as it is valid, i.e. in written form and voluntarily signed by both parties.
Contact Birnbaum Gelfman Sharma & Arnoux, LLC Today
For many people, pets are like children. With pet ownership at all-time highs, state laws need to keep up and allow for pet owner rights in a divorce.
Divorcing with pets? Seek legal help from the team at Birnbaum Gelfman Sharma & Arnoux, LLC. We’ll help you understand your rights so you can maintain your bond with Fido or Fluffy. Contact a Chicago pet custody lawyer today to schedule a consultation. Fill out the online form or call (312) 863-2800.