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Pet Custody & Divorce in Illinois

Fighting over Cats and Dogs? Call (312) 332-2915

Since the 1960s, cat and dog ownership has quadrupled in the United States. Nearly 52% of Illinois households have pets. Knowing this, it's not surprising that pet custody cases are also on the rise. Disagreements over who will keep a beloved pet have been known to happen between married couples, unmarried couples, and even roommates.

If you and a partner are splitting up or getting a divorce, it's important to contact an experienced family law attorney. The Chicago divorce law firm of Nottage and Ward, LLP, has been successfully representing clients facing complex legal issues for over 25 years. We are sensitive and supportive of your legal and emotional needs. Call us today at (312) 332-2915. Our firm serves Cook, Lake, McHenry, and DuPage counties.

What Does Illinois Law Say About Pet Custody?

Most people naturally bond with animals, and this attachment increases over time. This can be a problem if a couple decides to end their relationship. While couples may think of pets as their children, that's not how the law saw pets. In the past, under Illinois law, animals were treated as property when dividing up assets in a divorce, just like a car or a television set.

However, a new law went into effect on January 1, 2018, that allows a judge to take the pet’s well-being into consideration when allocating joint or sole custody of a pet. This new legislation was sponsored by Linda Holmes, a state senator from the western suburb of Aurora and a professed animal lover. “It sort of starts treating your animal more like children,” she said. “If you’re going before a judge, they’re allowed to take the best interest of the animal into consideration.” The law only applies to companion animals (pets) that are marital assets, not service animals.

The Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 (750 ILCS 60/214) also allows a judge to award temporary legal custody of an animal to one partner if it can be proven that the domestic abuse towards the partner is also a danger to the animal. This rule doesn't apply in the case of a marriage or separation.

As attorneys, we recommended including pet custody issues when creating a prenuptial agreement. If you're purchasing a pet as a couple, you may want to have legal documentation of who will get custody if you break up. A skilled family law attorney can draw up such agreements.

Handling Family Law Cases Involving Pet Custody in Illinois

Considering the emotional attachment people have to their pets, pet custody cases have been known to end up in court. The skilled litigators at Nottage and Ward, LLP, have been practicing since 1988 and have expert knowledge of Illinois law. We will guide you through all phases of your claim - pre-trial, negotiation, and settlement or litigation. Call our offices today at (312) 332-2915. We're here to help.

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Client Reviews

5 Leslie has been the strongest representation I could ask for

Leslie has been the strongest representation I could ask for in a very complicated, emotional matter. She has continuously looked out for my best interest and the best interest of my son. She is always prompt in getting back to me and in keeping me well informed about my case.

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We have the experience.

We are knowledgeable about financial issues. We are experienced in child custody problems and sensitive to the overall needs of the client.

We have the experience to negotiate complex financial issues. The brain trust to maneuver contentious divorce litigation. And the sensitivity and skill to resolve highly charged custody issues.

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Where We

Our practice is concentrated in Cook, DuPage, Lake, Will, Kankakee and McHenry counties.

Nottage and Ward, LLP  | 
10 N. Dearborn, 11th Floor, Chicago, IL 60602

Chicago Pet Custody Attorney Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results set forth herein are based upon the facts of that particular case and do not represent a promise or guarantee. Please contact an attorney for a consultation on your particular legal matter. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the state of Illinois.

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