Are pets property in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2020 | Firm News |

Divorce is a difficult time for anybody going through it. However, an often-overlooked factor of divorce is the non-human entities that may have to deal with the consequences. While issues related to child custody are well-documented in Chicago divorces, dealing with the division of pets can be a surprisingly heart-rending part of the divorce process. If you are going through divorce with a pet in Chicago, it is beneficial for you to be aware of the laws surrounding it. According to the Chicago Tribune, a 2017 law made it so that pets are treated more like children in a divorce process as compared to property. 

Essentially, as of 2018 a judge involved with divorce proceedings in Chicago can treat the well-being of pets the same way they would treat the well-being of children. This means that it is very possible for divorcing couples to end up with joint ownership of a pet. 

This, of course, assumes that the couple obtained the pet after the marriage. In the event that a couple marries and one party brings the pet into the joint household, then the pet will generally be considered part of pre-marital assets. However, it is very common for couples to assume ownership of a pet after tying the knot. It is also important to be aware that this law only applies to companion animals rather than service animals. 

However, the good news is that the majority of divorcing couples are able to figure out what to do with the pets without resorting to the courtroom. This issue is most commonly experienced in double-income no-kid household where both parties are equally attached to the pet.