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Who gets your pet in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2023 | Divorce |

There are two main areas that couples address when they get divorced. First of all, they have to decide how to divide the assets that they own together. Secondly, if they are parents, they have to decide how to divide custody of their children. The court can assist with this process if the parents are unable to come up with a solution on their own.

But what happens if a couple does not have children but does have a shared pet? Odds are that both of them think of this pet as essentially a member of their family, similarly to how they would view a child. Does that mean that they have to set up a custody solution?

Pets are part of the property division process

Custody may sound logical to those who love their pet and think of them as part of the family, but the law doesn’t look at pets the same way. Under the eyes of the law, a pet is just a piece of property that the couple has purchased. The only real solution would be to sell the pet and split up the money or to give the pet to one person and give the other person an asset with a similar value.

This view comes from the fact that pets were often seen more as helpers or assistants, especially in agricultural societies. Over the years, their role has changed to one that is more akin to a family member. But the law still simply looks at them as an asset with a financial value, so courts do not set up custody solutions for pets.

This may mean that your divorce gets a bit more complicated than you thought it would. Be sure you know what steps to take at this time.