The new law, which was added to Section 503(n) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states:
“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. As used in this section, “companion animal” does not include a service animal as defined in Section 2.01c of the Humane Care for Animals Act.”
Under this new law, pet owners can expect the court to consider joint or sole ownership of their pet based on the best interests of the pet. It is also possible to work out joint ownership arrangements for the pet that include visitation.