When it comes to pets, most of us consider them to be a part our family.
We care for them, play with them, and love them almost as much as our
children (Shh…don’t tell your kids). It is estimated that
62% of American households have pets. When a couple decides to get a divorce,
what happens to the pets?
In the law’s eyes, pets are considered personal property and thus
do not get awarded as custody. Instead, the splitting couple must fight
over the pet, staking their claims. Like any other dispute, deciding who
gets the pets can be tricky. There are certain things the court looks
at to see where the pet will best be suited.
Who had the pet first?
Often times, the decision of who gets the pet can be quite simple. If one
spouse had the pet before marriage, they are the ones who will most likely
Who generally takes care of the pet?
In general, the court takes into consideration the primary person who is
looking after the pet. If you are the one who buys the food, takes the
animal to the vet and groomers, and takes the pet for a walk, most likely,
the court will grant you rights. Make sure to keep records of the animal’s
upkeep. Whether it’s a receipt from the pet store with your signature
on it, a signed acknowledgement from the vet, or a testimony from your
neighbors, you should have proof to show you care for the pet.
Where will the children live?
In some cases, if there are children involved, it will affect who will
get ownership of the pets. Because children and pets tend to have a strong
bond, the court will, in most cases, allow the spouse with primary child
custody to have rights over the pet as well.
Who has the lifestyle more suited for pets?
Courts will consider who has the time and lifestyle to take care of a pet.
If a one spouse is a nurse, who works at various hours, they might not
be able to handle the responsibilities of a pet on their own. That is
why those whose lifestyle allows for pets will most likely get ownership of them.
At James D. Madden, Attorney at Law, our attorney understands how difficult
it is to split ownership of a pet. Let our specialist in family law help
you with your divorce. Call our Rancho Cucamonga divorce lawyer for a