- If the pet was owned by one spouse prior to the relationship
- If the pet belongs to the child or has a special bond with the child
- If one spouse is the person who takes care of the pet a majority of the time (letting out, feeding, grooming, etc.)
- If the pet has a special bond with other pets in the household
But, practically speaking, the family pet is considered as any other item of martial property in Missouri and Kansas. One party to the divorce is granted the possession of the pet just like any other marital asset, like the house, the cars, the bank accounts, etc.
However, in Illinois, Section 5/504 now requires that the court award sole or joint custody of a companion animal by considering the following:
- If the court finds that a companion animal of the parties is a marital asset, it shall allocate the sole or joint ownership of and responsibility for a companion animal of the parties.
- In issuing an order under this subsection, the court shall take into consideration the well-being of the companion animal.
This makes the law dramatically different in Illinois than it is in Missouri and Kansas. If you are going through a divorce where the family pet is an important issue, we can help.
We have also written an article on the topic, titled: “Who Lets the Dog Out?”
Contact Our Divorce Attorneys in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma
If this is a current situation you are going through, talking to an experienced divorce attorney can help. To schedule a consultation with one of our divorce lawyers, you can contact us online or call us at any of our convenient locations throughout Missouri, Illinois, and Kansas, including St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbia and Springfield.