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What Is the New Illinois Companion Animal Law?

Attorneys Assist Families with Pets During Divorce in DuPage County and Kane County

Thanks to a new law that took effect on January 1, 2018, Illinois courts now have the authority to help families determine who will be responsible for family pets following a divorce. The law specifically refers to “companion animals,” which generally include dogs, cats, and horses. Service animals are explicitly excluded from such considerations.



For many Illinois households, pets are a part of the family. They are loving, attentive animals who are much more than mere property to their owners. Unfortunately, divorce laws in Illinois have historically treated pets much like any other piece of property, leaving many pet owners frustrated and disheartened in the wake of a divorce.

In August of 2017, Illinois lawmakers passed a measure that went into effect at the beginning of 2018. That bill amended the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) to give courts the authority to “allocate the sole or joint ownership of and responsibility for a companion animal” belonging to a divorcing couple. The new law also requires the court to take the animal’s well-being into account as well.

Wheaton Divorce Attorneys Helping You Find Solutions

If you are a pet owner who is facing the possibility of a divorce, you should keep in mind that arrangements for your pet do not need to be left to the court to decide. The amended IMDMA encourages divorcing couples to negotiate an amicable agreement regarding all aspects of their divorce, including provisions for companion animals. At MKFM Law, we are equipped to help you find common ground with your soon-to-be ex-spouse and to develop an agreement that protects your rights while promoting your best interests. Sometimes, however, a negotiated settlement is simply not possible. If this is the case for you, our team includes skilled litigators who will advocate on your behalf in the courtroom as well.

To learn more about our firm and how we can help you come to a suitable arrangement for your pets, contact our office. Call 630-665-7300 for your confidential consultation today.

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250 W. River Drive, Unit 2A
St. Charles, IL 60174
630-665-7300
Evening and weekend hours by appointment.

From our law office in Wheaton, IL the family law and civil litigation law attorneys of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick and Mirabella, represent businesses and individual clients throughout the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois including Wheaton, Naperville, Oak Brook, Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Lombard, Downers Grove, Burr Ridge, Lisle, Elmhurst, Oakbrook Terrace, Winfield, Woodridge, Warrenville and throughout DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties.

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