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Is your pet actually a part of your family?

On Behalf of | Sep 17, 2021 | Family Law |

You and your spouse decide to split up, and you do not have children, which removes the need for custody battles and co-parenting arrangements. It makes the divorce easier, in theory, because you just have to handle property division. 

But what about your family pet? Maybe you have a dog that you love and think of as a family member. Most dog owners do. Does this mean you will need a pet custody plan after all?

Courts do not award custody of pets

The main thing to keep in mind here is that the court does not share your view of the pet as a family member. Therefore, they’re not going to create a custody schedule. You and your ex can do this on your own, but the court isn’t going to set it up the way that they would for a child. 

Instead, courts just award ownership of the pet as they would with any other property — which is, in a legal sense, exactly how your dog is regarded. In fact, with many breeds costing between $1,000 and $3,000, your pet could be one of the more expensive assets you own. If you and your spouse paid for it together, there’s no way to divide that investment, so it’s likely that one of you will get the dog and the other will get something with equal financial value. 

What can you do about your pet in a divorce?

As you can imagine, this type of solution is hard for many dog owners. Be sure you know exactly what steps you can take to achieve your goals during your divorce. Understanding where to start and the legal options you may have can help.