For many of us, pets are as integral a part of our lives as any other family member. Understandably, when going through a divorce, people have major concerns regarding who will receive custody of their pets. The fact is that, although you may see your pets as part of the family, courts generally treat them as personal property.
Pets and the Divorce Process
It can be difficult for anyone to fathom that a pet could be seen as property. While some states, such as California, Alaska, and Illinois treat pets as more than a simple property matter and have set rules in place, other states leave a lot more discretion up to the judge.
Below are some of the factors a judge will review when determining who will get a pet in a divorce:
- Who paid for the pet? Is there evidence of payment?
- Who spends most of the time with the pet?
- Who pays for most of the expenses related to the day-to-day care of the pet?
- Is there a history of abuse toward the animal?
- Will less involvement with the pet affect the children?
- What are the best interests of the pet? Which owner does the pet prefer?
If your pet is a service animal or an emotional support animal, it would be considered as more than a pet and cannot be taken from you in a divorce.
Judges are also unlikely to grant a visitation arrangement. Instead, judges typically grant ownership of a pet to one party. If your ex gets ownership of the pet, it is possible to sue for the pet in civil or small claims court. However, you should assess if doing so would be worth the time and money it would cost and if your chances of success are good.
Discuss the Details of Your Divorce Case with an Experienced Attorney Today!
If you are in the middle of a divorce and have a pet, the experienced legal team at the Law Office of Tzvi Y. Hagler, P.C. can assist you. No two divorces are alike and you can rely on us to provide unique solutions that address your specific needs and goals.
Reach out to our law firm today at (516) 514-3868 to schedule a consultation with our attorney to get started on your case and learn more about the services we provide.