Animals are an important part of our lives. They are a family member who doesn’t have a voice in what happens in a divorce. Illinois is one of three states who use the same standard with pets as they do with children in a divorce: the best interest of the pet.
The court decides
Pets tug at our emotions, and the same pet can bet at the center of a divorce tug of war. With the best interests of the pet in mind, you can go into court and lay out all the ways you are in the best interest of the pet and your spouse is not. Here are some items that parties show:
- Who feeds the pet?
- Who cares for the medical needs of the pet?
- Who pays for the pet?
- Has someone ignored or neglected the animal?
- Can friends talk about what they have seen of the parties’ actions?
This kind of custody fight can get expensive and messy. The financial stakes are low, but the emotions run high and ugly. There is a better way for the pet and the family.
A better way
You can come together and negotiate a contract that covers all the pertinent details of what is best for the pet. You can share pet custody with an agreement negotiated between the two of you. If you do this, be specific about everything. Who has custody when? Who makes medical decisions? How does visitation work? Getting it down now can help you avoid future conflict.
Planning now helps assure you are working in the best interest of your pet. Disagreements now may be bad, but you want to avoid lengthening those divorce disagreements over the life of your pet. Talk with an attorney, they can help make sure you have everything covered in your agreement.