Can you collect alimony from a someone to care for their cat and dog?

My ex girlfriend of 15 years left me with our pet dog and cat. Can I collect alimony or anything else to help care for them?

Asked on July 28, 2010 under Family Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, and for two reasons:

1) There is no "pet support" or "alimony" for an animal--the law does not give pets the same rights or need for support as human children.

2) As a general rule, the unmarried cannot collect alimony from their ex-significant other. There are some high profile exceptions of which I'm certain you've heard, but that's the exception, not the rule--receiving any support from a non-spouse is difficult, at best.

Nothing says you can't try to get her to agree to provide some support, including by letting her know (only if it's truthful) that you may have to either put the animals down or give them up for adoption if you cannot afford their upkeep.

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