For many people, their pets are just as important as human family members and many pets are treated as such. If you are getting a divorce and have found your ex-spouse to be highly disagreeable over your pets and where and with whom they will live with, you should know there are many couples battling it out over their pets in divorce court. Find out more about how pets are dealt with during a divorce.
Courts Look At Your Furry Family Member As Personal Property
As cold-hearted as it may seem, especially to those people that love their pets like they were their children, the courts do not share your view of your pet being a part of the family. The law considers your pet personal property and if you do not have an investment in your pet, but your spouse does, he or she may end up with the pets if he or she asks for them. This is especially true for the spouse that breeds and sells dogs or cats. Certain breeds of dogs and cats are expensive and breeders are considered financial assets in the marriage, not furry family members.
Pets That Were Owned When You Got Married
If you owned your cat or dog when you got married and can prove it in court, you will keep that pet after the divorce is over. However, keep in mind that the same is true for your ex-spouse. If you have grown emotionally attached to your ex-spouse's pet, you will have to discuss with him or her about keeping the animal with you. Otherwise, he or she will be awarded by the court the pet that was there before you came along.
If Children Are Involved In Your Divorce
Most judges will not take a beloved pet from children already suffering the pain of divorce, so if you will have full custody of your children, you may also have your pets full-time as well. You might also make an agreement with your ex-spouse to share the dog, allowing him or her to spend time with both of you just like you do with your kids. Remember to be civil to one another when discussing the pet's care when the kids are around because if you fight, the kids may think you also fight in the same way over them, making it even harder on them during the divorce.
Being prepared to deal with the court's decision about your pets and other issues can be tough, so taking legal step before you go to court is important. For more information, discuss your options with a qualified divorce attorney before you give in and make final decisions about your pets and any other personal property you had during your marriage.