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Pets are part of property division

On Behalf of | Apr 9, 2024 | Family Law |

When getting divorced, it’s important to know that your pet will be subject to property division. This is because the law sees pets as property, not a member of the family.

Some people will get divorced and expect the court to rule on a custody situation where they will share their pet after the marriage ends. They consider it a part of their family, like a child, and they are joint owners who both want to maintain a relationship with their pet. But, while the court will set up such an arrangement for children, this will not happen with pets.

Why this can be unsatisfactory

This can lead to some situations where people are less than satisfied with the property division assigned by the court.

For example, maybe you paid $2,000 for your dog when the two of you purchased it together, after your marriage. You also paid $2,000 for a set of bedroom furniture for your new home. If the two of you can’t agree on how to share your time with the dog moving forward, then the court may decide that your ex gets the dog and you get the bedroom furniture.

From the court’s perspective, this is a fair and just ruling. They are just trying to split up the assets that you own in accordance with state law. But from your perspective, the dog is worth far more than a set of bedroom furniture, so this does not get you the result you were hoping for.

Things like this can complicate a divorce, and they show why it can be helpful to communicate and work together with your ex, even as your marriage ends. You may be able to find a better solution where you create your own pet schedule – if you can work together. Just be sure you know exactly what legal options you have during a divorce.