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Is Pet Custody Emerging as the Main Focus in Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

pets in divorce, Illinois divorce lawyer, division of property, pet custody, Illinois divorce attorneyAccording to a recently published article, many divorcing couples, including those of the celebrity variety, are shifting the focus of their custody battles from child custody to  pet custody.

More Common Occurrence

While people generally may expect some type of custody battle to ensue between a divorcing couple regarding their children, they are probably less likely to anticipate the same type of disputes over family pets. However, in the legal world, disputes over the custody of pets are becoming more common in connection with divorce proceedings. Perhaps this is not so surprising when one considers that people in America are spending more money than ever before on their pets, many couples who would otherwise be having children are delaying parenthood, and more and more people are forming a bond with their pets that causes them to treat the pets more like members of the family. The law is just now trying to catch up to this cultural status change for families’ furry friends.

Legally Speaking

Divorce attorneys are representing an increasing number of clients who engage in legal battles with their partners over pet custody. According to the relevant law in most states, however, pets are considered “things” as they relate to divorces, and courts make decisions regarding them on the same terms decisions are made about other items of personal property owned by the parties. Thus, despite the fact that many Americans across the country treat pets like their children, the law does not, and likely will not, follow suit anytime soon.

However, the current status of the relevant law does not mean judges who preside over divorce cases handle disputes regarding pets in identical ways. Their approach may very well depend on their own attitudes involving family pets. A judge who is a pet lover and values an owner’s bond with their animal may be more inclined to hear more evidence relating to the pet’s daily care and maintenance. Other judges who are not so kind to man’s best friend may be more likely to view the pet strictly in the eyes of the law: as another piece of marital property to be divided. Still others may leave it up to the parties, in part, to sacrifice other items or pay the other party for the benefit of keeping the pet.

Another possibility for couples who have a pet or purchase a pet together is to account for the pet’s custody in a pre- or post-nuptial agreement. Many pet lovers may be relieved to note that even in cases where one party is awarded ownership of the pet, some courts are inclined to grant the other visitation.

Family Law Attorney

An attorney who is knowledgeable in the area of family law will be able to assist clients in divorce proceedings as well as custody matters. The family lawyers at the Davi Law Group, LLC have successful experience doing just that. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We have offices located in Wheaton, Warrenville, and Chicago.

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