A new law in Illinois will affect the way that pet ownership will be handled in divorce cases. Pets will be treated the same way that children are treated. People could get joint or partial custody after a divorce.
Jennifer Behme is an attorney who practices in Belleville, Illinois. She stated that states will have the ability to award sole or joint custody to pet owners. She also stated that the only pets that will be affected are the ones that were adopted during the marriage. If a spouse had an animal before they got married, then they will be able to keep it.
Jennifer stated that there are a lot of things that the judge will consider before awarding custody. Who is taking care of the pet, who takes the animal to the veterinarian, and the agreement that the party made before the divorce are some of the things that will be taken into consideration. A judge will award joint custody if it is the best interest of the dog. This law will not affect service animals.
Jeffrey Knipmeyer is an attorney who practices in Chicago. He stated that most couples do not have a hard time determining custody arrangements. He has been in practice for 21 years, and this has never been an issue. There has been a 30 percent decrease in pet custody cases going to court over the past three years.
However, if a pet custody case does reach the court, then this law can be beneficial. Pet custody cases are more common among two-income couples who do not have any children. This law allows the judge to decide what is best for the pet instead of what the people want. Many people only think of a pet as property. Others see their pets as members of the family.