Who Gets the Pet in a Divorce?

Many of us see our pets as beloved family members and, in a household where spouses have decided to get a divorce, both parties are likely to butt heads on who gets to keep their animal companion. However, despite the emotional attachment families feel for their pets, the law has yet to catch up with this sentiment. In fact, in the eyes of the law, pets are no different than any other piece of property and are considered comparable to a piece of furniture or your car.

As such, having to decide who gets to keep the family pet can get immensely contentious and complex. If a spouse adopted or purchased the pet prior to the marriage, the pet would be considered pre-marital property. However, it can be tricky to prove this if proper documentation does not exist.

In such cases, it might be best for spouses to attempt to work out an arrangement amongst themselves. If you and your spouse share children who have an attachment to the family pet, it would be best if you allowed the pet to remain with the children. Coping with the divorce will be difficult enough for them, so if you are able to maintain some semblance of normalcy for them, it can help make their lives easier and less stressful.

Additionally, if you care for your pet, consider agreeing to a decision you know will not inflict stress. Here are some signs of pet stress you should be aware of:

  • Your pet sleeps more than usual
  • Your pet’s appetite decreased
  • Your pet is no longer interested in its usual daily activities
  • Your pet cries and whimpers a lot
  • Your pet excessively grooms

If you recognize these signs in your pet, it is possible that it is stressed. Until the law catches up with the love we have for our pets, try to do what is in the best interests of your family and your animal friend.

Experienced Divorce Attorneys in Newport Beach

Divorce is no easy feat. For many, it is an emotional experience, which is why it is crucial to have the assistance of a skilled divorce attorney on your side to help you navigate the complexities of the law and ensure you do not make any costly mistakes. At Burch Shepard Family Law Group, our Newport Beach legal team can help you resolve a wide range of divorce disputes. Reach out to us today for the help you deserve.

Call us at (949) 565-4158 to request a consultation with a knowledgeable member of our legal team.