Hurst, Robin & Kay, LLC
Talk To Our Attorneys Today 312-782-2400
View Our Practice Areas

Who keeps the dog when you divorce?

A divorce is a painful and complicated process, bringing both financial and emotional stress. Couples face a number of contentious issues such as child custody and property division when they’re separating. And not surprisingly, one of the more common heated issues in divorce is who gets to keep the dog or cat.

Families have long considered their pets to be an extended part of the family and people have strong bonds with their animals. That means deciding where the pet will live causes quite a bit of friction and emotion.

Factors considered

Not all states recognize pets during divorce proceedings but thankfully, Illinois does. A law passed in early 2018 recognizes the importance of pets in a divorce decision. If a couple isn’t able to decide pet custody on their own, a court can consider a number of factors toward a decision on their behalf:

  • Which party is better suited to care for the animal.
  • Which of the spouses was responsible for buying the food and supplies.
  • Who arranged for the veterinary care or grooming for the pet.
  • The bonds a pet has with its owners.
  • The effect a separation might have on other members of the household.

Much like child custody, a judge could grant sole custody to one party or joint custody to both.


Knowing your pet’s well-being is considered as part of your decision can give you peace of mind in an otherwise stressful and emotional time.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For A Response

Get started Send Us An Email

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Chicago Office:
30 N. LaSalle Street
Suite 1210
Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: 312-782-2400
Fax: 312-782-4025
Chicago Law Office Map

Lake Forest Office:
222 E. Wisconsin Ave
Suite 4B
Lake Forest, IL 60045

Phone: 312-782-2400
Fax: 312-782-4025
Lake Forest Law Office Map