Come January 1, Illinois joins Alaska in factoring in the well-being of animal companions in custody battles which reach court. This is a major step forward for how animals are classified in the U.S. legal system. Currently, they are mostly considered property.
At one time, the soul-wrenching situation of never playing with Fido or Muffy again post-divorce was, well, not taken seriously. My former brother-in-law asked about that with my sister. No dice. At the time, he had no legal standing. Anyway, the mother had the upper hand in matters of dependents back then.
Now, he would, at least in two states.
In those, the animals will no longer be legally treated as property, with no emotions. Instead of automatically assigning custody to one side or another, the judge will delve into the needs of the animal.
This is not only fair for the animal companion. It also indicates the importance of the emotional human-animal bond.
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