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What happens to your pets in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 29, 2024 | family law |

Pets often feel like part of the family. There’s been an interesting evolution regarding dogs, for instance. Domestication used to be mainly focused on getting dogs to assist humans, such as working on a farm. But today, most people who have pets just view them as companions – and some people almost look at them like children. Pets have become a beloved part of the family unit, not just another source of labor or assistance.

When couples get divorced, this can complicate things. Both people may want to ensure that they can see their pets after the divorce. But can they get a child custody schedule for a pet?

Pets and property division

As a general rule, the court will not provide a custody schedule because pets are actually just material property, at least from a legal standpoint. The law still looks at them as an asset that a person purchased. The court doesn’t look at pets as a member of the family, so the court may not value the relationship that each person has with the pet. They’re simply looking at what the pet cost initially and trying to divide marital property fairly.

But this may lead to an unsatisfactory result. If the court can’t give you a custody schedule, say that they tell you that your ex gets to keep the pets but you get the living room furniture set. These may have similar financial values, but you can imagine how frustrating it would be to be subjected to this “fair” property division – and to lose all contact with your pets. As a result, if you are getting a divorce, it’s very important to understand all the legal options at your disposal.