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After divorce, who gets custody of your pet?

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2024 | Divorce |

If you and your spouse had children and you were getting divorced, you would have to divide custody rights. This includes the decision-making power that parents have over their children, when making choices about things like medical care or where they will attend school. It also just includes physical custody, which is when each parent spends time with the child and they live together.

However, you and your spouse may not have any children. Instead, you have a family pet that you purchased shortly after getting married. You know that you’ll need to divide your assets, but who is going to get custody of your pet? How will the court rule?

No one gets custody

Unfortunately, you can’t get custody of your pet and neither can your ex. This is because pets are property under the eyes of the law. You and your ex can share time with your pet if you would like, but it’s up to you to make a schedule to do it. The court doesn’t provide these instructions because neither of you have custody rights – you have property rights.

As such, if the two of you cannot agree, the court can make a decision. But they will just include your pet in the property division. If a jointly-owned computer initially cost the same amount as the dog that you purchased together, for example, one person may get the pet and the other will get the computer.

You can imagine that this would not be a satisfactory solution, as someone who loves your pet and has a close bond. As such, you need to carefully consider all of the legal steps that you can take to maintain this relationship, understanding how the court looks at your pet and your other assets.