Statistics tell us that at least 65% of U.S. households have at least one pet. So what happens to our furry or winged friends when divorce papers are served?
Custody of the Family Pet
Technically, there’s no such thing as “custody” of the family pet because they are considered to be property. However, according to California Family Law, the courts can protect a pet if there’s sufficient reason to believe it may be harmed by one of the divorcing parties. Pets can even be included in domestic violence restraining orders.
When it comes to deciding who will keep the pet after a divorce, your best bet is to write a pre-nuptial agreement that clearly states who will be keeping the animal, any shared costs for vet bills and boarding, etc.
If you and your ex have children, keep in mind that it may be a good idea to ensure that they and the pet should be together if there are strong bonds between the two.
One important note to remember: if the pet belonged to you before the marriage, the pet essentially belongs to you.
How to Build Your Case for Keeping the Pet
If you and your ex cannot come to an agreement about who the pet stays with, documentation is the way to go. For example, keep track of who:
- Buys the pet’s food and supplies
- Takes it for walks and cleans up after it
- Does the majority of keeping up with its overall health
You may even get a written statement from your veterinarian acknowledging your commitment and level of care for the animal.
Men’s Legal Center Can Answer All of Your Divorce Questions
As you can see, there’s lots to consider when going through a divorce. If you’re considering filing, we welcome your call to the Men’s Legal Center. We specialize in specifically helping men in just about every type of family law issue.
Call us at (619) 234-3838.