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How do you divide custody of a pet during divorce?

On Behalf of | Feb 19, 2024 | Divorce & High Asset Divorce |

Getting divorced can be difficult if you have children and you have to split up custody. You and the other co-parent have to work together to find a custody arrangement, or the court can decide how you should split up parenting time and decision-making power. Another common issue is property division, where you split up the marital assets that you own together.

But how do pets fit into this picture? Say that you and your partner purchased a pet together shortly after getting married. How will it be handled if you get divorced?

Your pet counts as property

The most important thing to remember is that most pets count as material property, at least, from the standpoint of a divorce case. In other words, your pet is an asset, not part of your family.

This is important because it means that the court isn’t going to create a custody schedule so that you and your ex can share time with the pet. The court would do that for children, but not for pets. You and your ex would have to create this sort of schedule to share ownership yourselves.

What happens if you can’t agree on a schedule? Then the court will just decide which one of you gets to keep the pet. The other person may be given a different asset with a similar value – such as a television or a furniture set that you also bought together.

As you can imagine, that’s not a satisfactory solution to many pet owners, who aren’t thinking about the financial value of the pet that they care about so deeply. If you find yourself in this position, take the time to carefully look into all of your legal options.

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