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In Divorce And Other Family Law Matters

Why won’t the court make a custody plan for my pet?

On Behalf of | May 29, 2024 | Divorce |

Parents who get divorced are often focused on custody of their children. They need to split up custody rights and share time with the child. A common way to do this is just for parents to switch back and forth every other week, swapping physical custody.

But there are many young couples who do not have children yet, though they may have pets. They think of these pets similarly to children, in that the pet is a part of the family. But when these couples get divorced, the court isn’t going to make a custody plan for them — even if they want to share ownership after the divorce so that they both get to stay involved with their pet. Why not?

Pets are subject to property division

The reason that the court will not make a custody plan for two people to share ownership is that they do not see the pet as a part of the family. Pets fall under property division laws. A pet is just an asset that the couple purchased – just like a television or a computer.

As such, if the couple cannot come to an agreement on their own, all the court will do is split up marital assets in accordance with state law. One person may get the television and the other person may get the dog, for example.

Of course, many pet owners do not find this to be a satisfying arrangement. They don’t think of their pet the same way they think of other assets. But this is why it’s so important for couples to understand how the court approaches the situation, as it may be much different than what they expect. All couples must understand their legal options.