ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — When it comes to divorce, everyone in the family suffers. Turns out, even Fido feels it.

Many people consider their dog or cats as family members. When a couple files for divorce, who gets “custody” of the pet?

In Illinois, pets are simply seen as another piece of property. They are not treated the same as child custody.

According to Illinois law, if the pet was acquired by one spouse before the marriage, then that spouse would get to keep the pet after the divorce. But if the pet was acquired during the marriage, it is considered marital property with dual ownership.

However, thanks to a law that went into effect in 2018, pets are not treated as the same type of property as, say, vehicles or jewelry. A court can now consider who was responsible for the well-being of the pet, such as feeding, grooming, and caring for the pet’s health needs.

In that case, the court will be more likely to award ownership of the pet to the spouse who cared for the animal.

Another exception would be if one spouse cares for a child for the majority of the time, and the child has grown close to the family pet. That parent could ask the court for ownership of the animal.

If a divorcing couple cannot agree on pet ownership, the court can assign sole or joint ownership.