On behalf of Joseph R. Schmitz of Schmitz Law, P.C. posted in family law on Wednesday, January 3, 2018.

As soon as the clock struck midnight on the first, new laws went into action. In Illinois, one such law now addresses what happens to pets during divorces. They’re now being treated more like children than property, which means that people can ask for joint or partial custody in certain cases. While people with service animals will likely retain their rights to the pet after a divorce, those with companion animals have more options now than in the past.

While you’re not living in Illinois, this change is something that you might be able to use to your advantage. Using other states’ laws isn’t necessarily going to work outright, but it may help you negotiate for the custody of a favored pet.

Pets are special to many people. Some have pets instead of children. Others have pets that they purchased together years ago. Others received pets as gifts from their spouses. Whatever the situation is, it’s obvious that both parties may have a vested interest in seeing the animal go to a good home. In fact, both people may want to continue to see their shared pet.

While people with service animals will likely retain their rights to the pet after a divorce, those with companion animals have more options now than in the past.

For some, a custody schedule may work well when a pet’s involved. While the court might see the animal as property, you have the ability to work out a custody arrangement through mediation or negotiation on your own. The judge can approve this agreement, so you can continue to share custody of the pet you love. With the right set up, it’s possible for both people to continue to have their favorite pet in their lives.

Source: CNN Madison Park, Dec. 30, 2017

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