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Pet custody decisions in a divorce

On Behalf of | May 12, 2020 | Family Law |

People who have dogs or cats often develop strong bonds with their pets. When it comes to a marital divorce, these bonds can be put to the test as the spouses must decide who will keep the family pet.

Yahoo Finance reported on a growing trend in which some couples are choosing to create what amounts to a prenuptial agreement outlining custody of a pet should the relationship dissolve. This may well be fueled by the requirement by some pet adoption or rescue agencies for people to indicate what will happen to the pet in the case of a divorce as part of their adoption process.

Across the country, some states have passed laws that provide guidance to judges on how to determine pet custody when reviewing divorce agreements. Only a few states have done this so far, and each approach varies but the intention is shared. Pets should not be treated equally to a human child, but they should be given consideration well beyond inanimate objects and belongings like dishware or furniture.

When deciding the living situation for a pet in a divorce, some factors to be taken into consideration include which of the two spouses spends more time with the pet. Some families with young children, or even teenage kids still at home, may well choose to have the pet transition between the two parental homes with the kids, keeping kids and pets together at all times. This may well provide a sense of security for children during a change that logically upsets a child’s prior sense of security.


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