Can The Presence Of Family Pets Affect Visitation And Child Custody?

pet custodyQuestion:

My daughter has been allergic to cats her whole life, though she has never had a reaction to the cats my ex-wife and I owned nor the cats I currently own after our divorce. The doctor has recommended to limit her exposure to the cats, but again she has had no reaction.

Now my ex-wife is threatening to take away my visitation rights until I get rid of the cats and we go to mediation as required by our divorce agreement.

Can my ex-wife be successful in suspending my visitation or modifying our child custody agreement because of my cats?


I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Illinois divorce and child custody laws where I am licensed to practice.

It is unfortunate that your ex-wife is making an issue of the cats now, when it did not seem to be an issue previously, and your daughter has not actually had a reaction to the cats.

However, now that your ex-wife is raising a concern and threatening to bring you back to court to limit your visitation, you will need to consider whether it is worth keeping the cats, or whether it would be better to find a new home for them and avoid additional court proceedings.

Especially because you are not disputing that your daughter does in fact have an allergy, and that the doctor did recommend that the she avoid exposure to cats, it may be in your best interest to err on the side of caution, especially if it will allow you to avoid the time and expenses of mediation and/or court proceedings.

Related Article:

Who Gets Custody Of The Pet?

If your Joint Parenting Agreement requires mediation before going to court to address issues regarding child custody and visitation, and your wife requests mediation, then you will need to cooperate and attend mediation. If mediation is not successful, and your wife institutes court proceedings, the outcome would likely depend heavily on the medical evidence regarding your daughter’s allergy.

Given that your daughter does have a documented cat allergy, you risk that a Judge may limit your visitation if your ex-wife can show that the cats are a risk to your daughter’s health.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.

To schedule an appointment with a Cordell & Cordell mens divorce attorney, including Belleville Divorce Lawyer Erin Brockhoff, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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