Pet Custody Divorce

Divorce Papers > Divorce Custody > Pet Custody Divorce

Most of the court cases are fought over the matters related to property and children. In some cases, there is one added issue. Pet custody in divorce is an important matter for the couple, who consider their animals as their children. It can be very disturbing for a person to lose regular contact with the pets, as they become an essential part of their life. But, the court does not carry out animal ownership matters separately. It merely considers the animals as a 'property' owned by a couple. It can be considered either as a marital asset or a separate holding during division.

However, the spouses seeking termination of marriage consider their pet as a member of the family. Therefore, they might have differences of opinion about having the ownership. The court may consider following things while allotting the guardianship of an animal:

  • The spouse who owned it before marriage.
  • The partner who has been a primary caretaker after marriage. The care-taking includes managing food, exercises and walks for the dog or cat.
  • A person, who has spent time with a pet, has taken it to vet and groomed it.
  • The spouse who is allotted child custody.
  • A person's ability to provide for the basic needs and expenses of the animals after divorce.

The court is more likely to award ownership to a spouse who has been a caretaker. Another situation is when the dog or cat belongs to the child of the divorcing couples. In this case, if the court thinks that it is in the best interests of the child, then the parent with primary physical custody of the child is granted the ownership.

Tips regarding Pet Custody in Divorce

This issue is not fought over in the court as the child guardianship cases. The state laws just treat it as a part of property division. Therefore, the spouses must comply with their attorney to find out their rights. Following are some points you can take into account:

  • The parent must prove to the court that he/she is the individual who can offer best care. For this, the following points must be proved:
    • The parent has time to play with the pet, to groom it and for its exercise.
    • The parent has space in his/her residence.
    • The vet may be requested to testify the parent's capacity to take care of the animal.
  • Let us assume that the parents have a valuable animal (for example a show cat or show dog). The court looks towards it as a valuable asset and probably as a business (for example, the parent collects stud fees by showing the animal).
  • Another situation is when parents have 2 or more animals of the same species. It is recommended not to separate them. Separation leads to anxiety or depression amongst them.
  • The spouses must discuss this topic between them and attempt to work out a plan. This may lead to the development of visitation arrangements. Also, the partners can share the expenses related to its grooming and feeding.
  • Let us consider that the spouses have children. In a majority of such cases, the child has most possibly an attachment with the pet. So, the best option is that the pet must live where the child lives.

Latest trend in Pet Custody in Divorce

Traditionally, the law has looked upon a pet as it would look at an item of property (like a lamp or a sofa). According to this outlook, it is foolish to discuss about owning a lamp, similarly it is absurd to discuss about having an animal. Instead of using the word custody, the word 'ownership' is thereby more appropriate. The court is not interested in offering joint ownership or visitation privileges in case of the animals groomed by a family.

However, in the recent past, several courts have admitted that pets have feelings and are conscious beings. Hence, they must not be regarded as property. The ALDF (Animal Legal Defense Fund) is an organization that works for protecting the rights of animals with the help of incorporating certain rules and regulations. The organization has several legal experts on board who work on "animal law". This trust has been trying to change the legal view towards pets. Consequently, several judges have tried to aim at the best interests of the animal, while awarding the custody. Accordingly, the courts have acknowledged that some distinct criteria must be applied to avoid conflicts in this matter.

Divorce Papers

How To File For Divorce
Divorce lawyers
Divorce Laws
Divorce Mediation
Divorce Statistics
Uncontested Divorce
No Fault Divorce
Divorce Procedures
Divorce Questions
Divorce Tips
Divorce Steps
Children And Divorce
Do It Yourself Divorce
Divorce Support
Divorce Settlement
Divorce Rights
Collaborative Divorce
Marriage And Divorce
Divorce Alimony
Divorce Proceedings
Contested Divorce
Divorce Counseling
Divorce Petition
Divorce Custody
Divorce Legal Advice
Divorce Adultery
Divorce In America
Divorce Child Support
International Divorce
Divorce Orders
Post Divorce
Property Divorce
Low Cost Divorce
How to Stop a Divorce
Quick Divorce