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Do you get to keep your pet in a divorce?

On Behalf of | May 14, 2024 | Divorce |

Your pet likely feels like a part of the family. In America, this is especially true with dogs and cats. People often feel a very close bond. This is more than just an animal that they own, but a true companion. You will even hear some young couples refer to their pets as their children or babies.

As such, when these people get divorced, they sometimes believe that they will need to create a schedule to share ownership of their pets. They think of this like a custody schedule that the court could design for parents to use as they share custody of their children. Is this actually going to happen?

There are no pet custody schedules

No, the court is not going to make a custody schedule for your pet. You and your ex certainly can share ownership if you would like to do so. There’s nothing legally prohibiting you from setting up your own schedule and splitting time with your pet after the divorce.

But the court isn’t going to do this for you because your pet, no matter how much it feels like a part of the family, is technically property. Courts will only set up custody solutions for children. With property, they default to asset division. So all the court would do is give your pet to either you or your ex and then give the other person assets that had a similar value.

A complex divorce

Working out the details during a divorce can be complicated, and disputes over pets or property can become contentious. Those going through this process must be well aware of the legal options at their disposal.