Among the many issues one must deal with in getting divorced, one of the most emotional issues is often which spouse will get the family cat or dog. The simple answer is that the law treats pets as personal property and not as humans. If the pet was acquired before the marriage, the spouse who acquired it will be awarded the animal in the divorce.
If the dog, cat or other pet was acquired during the marriage, it is treated as marital property and each spouse could make a claim to it. Absent an agreement between the parties, a court will consider such factors as which person was the primary caregiver for the pet during the marriage, the suitability of post separation living arrangements for a pet and each party’s financial ability to pay for the pet’s needs such as food, grooming and veterinary care. In most cases, the party awarded custody of a pet should not expect to receive increased alimony or maintenance payments to support the animal in the future.
If you are getting divorced, feel free to contact our office at (847) 599-9101 to see if we can assist you.