Starting in 2018, divorcing couples in Illinois who can't agree on who keeps the pet will have a judge decide.
Traditionally, companion animals are treated more like property to be divvied up between the couple.
But officials say, with the rise of two-income, childless families, the issue of pet custody has been appearing in courtrooms more and more often.
So starting January 1st, judges will have clear guidance when deciding whether to award sole custody to one pet parent or mandate they share custody.
Factors will include things like who takes care of the pet on a day-to-day basis and who spends more money on things like food or vaccinations.
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Judge to decide pet custody for divorcing couples in Illinois