Who Gets The Family Pet?

For some couples, their pets are their children. There are just as many households that count their “fur babies” as well as their biological offspring as children. When a couple with strong bonds to their pets gets divorced, the issue of “pet custody” arises. It may sound absurd, but this can be one of the most litigated areas of a divorce case. Sometimes pets are used as leverage to get other things in a divorce, but in most cases the desire to keep possession of Fluffy is very real.

The law considers pets personal property, and so treats them as such during a divorce. But, a growing number of Courts are beginning to recognize the importance of the family pet, and are making decisions based on factors not typically considered when dividing property. Some of the issues considered when custody of a pet is placed before the Judge includes:

● Which party provides the bulk of the care for the pet, such as taking the pet on walks and cleaning up after potty time.

● Whether there are children in the home, and, if so whether the animal has formed an attachment with the kids.

● Which party is in the best position to provide food, shelter, and any medical needs that may arise.

We understand the emotional attachment to pets, and also how your children can be affected when a pet is no longer in the home. Perhaps the best explanation as to why Courts consider typically “human” elements, such as who is close to the pet, when deciding pet custody issues is that the decision impacts family members as well. Because the Courts consider the best interest of your children when making decisions about child custody, it is possible that an issue about pet custody overlaps. Let our trained family law professionals help you resolve all of the issues of your divorce, including what happens to the family pet.

For answers to your questions about pets and divorce, consult our office. Put our valuable experience to work for you. Call The Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today to schedule your appointment.