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Who Will Get the Pet in Our Divorce?

Posted on in Family Law

DuPage County property division attorneys, pet custodyThose of us with pets often feel like they are part of the family. Therefore, in the event of a divorce, deciding who gets to keep the pet can be a huge conflict. There are several different factors that affect a court’s decision regarding pet custody. Generally, the rule is that a pet is personal property like any other property. However, sometimes the court is willing to see a pet as unique. 

Pet Custody Agreement 

Couples can create an agreement that lays out what would happen to a pet in the event of a divorce. The court does not necessarily have to uphold the agreement, but it may help the couple come to their own agreement about the pet. Like most other parts of property division during a divorce, a court will almost always approve an arrangement to which the couple agrees. 

Marital or Separate Property?

With any property involved in a divorce, the court will first decide whether the property is marital property, and is thus subject to division, or whether it is the separate property of one of the couples. The court is more likely to see a pet as one person’s separate property if he or she owned the pet before the marriage. However, if the pet was bought or rescued by the couple during the marriage, then the court may look to other factors to determine who gets the pet if the couple cannot agree. 

Furthermore, though pets are personal property like a lamp or couch, courts will sometimes look at pets differently than regular objects. Under this view, the court will look at what is in the best interest of the pet. This can include factors like who has a lifestyle that will make him or her more capable to care for the pet, such as if one person works a lot or one party has a fenced in yard. Courts will also consider the living situation of any children of the marriage and if it is in the best interest of the children to keep the pet with them. 


Some couples are devising unique solutions to the problem of who will get the pet in a divorce, and will decide to share “custody” of the pet. The court does not recognize “custody” as it comes to pets, but couples are able to make arrangements between themselves that work for them.

Contact a DuPage County Property Division Attorney Today

If you are thinking about divorce and are worried about who will get to keep your family pet, then you should contact a property division attorney to discuss the factors of your situation. Our compassionate DuPage County property division attorneys at Davi Law Group, LLC can help you to maximize your chances of keeping your pet.  



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