Find Out How New California Law Affects Pet Custody After Divorce


Find Out How New California Law Affects Pet Custody After Divorce


In even the most civil of divorce cases, decisions about who gets the family pet can be difficult to make. Earlier this year, though, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation that gives judges the authority – after taking several things into consideration – to decide who keeps the family pet.

In this issue, the San Diego family law attorneys with The Men’s Legal Center will explain the specifics of the new law about pets and divorce.

What does the new law say about family pets and divorce?

The new law, which goes into effect January 1, 2019, still technically refers to family pets as “community property” but the rules about determining who the pet stays with after the divorce has changed.

Before the signing of the new law, the person whose name was on the pet’s adoption certificate or sales receipt was the person who maintained custody of the pet. No recognition was given to who actually provided care for or who had the stronger emotional attachment to the pet.

The new law changes all of that. Now, the court will assign either sole or joint ownership of the pet as the judge takes overall well-being of the pet into account. The law even grants the court the authority to order either spouse to provide medical care, food, and shelter for the pet.

What will the judge’s decision about pet ownership be based upon?

Before making a final decision, the judge will consider a host of things related to the pet’s best interest, including who feeds them, takes them to the vet’s office, takes them for walks, and who provides shelter from potential harm.

For answers to your divorce questions, call the San Diego divorce attorneys with The Men’s Legal Center.

Family is everything, and pets are definitely vital family members. If you have concerns about who will have custody of your family pet, we urge you to get in touch with us here at The Men’s Legal Center in San Diego.

You can reach us at 619-234-3838 or via email.


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