The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Pets in Divorce Proceedings The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Pets in Divorce Proceedings

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Pets in Divorce Proceedings

Introduction to Pets in Divorce Proceedings
When it comes to pets, the law is fairly clear on how pets are viewed – and that is pets are property. If you are a pet owner, it is more likely than not you view your pet as a member of the family, or even as a child. When a couple goes through a divorce, and pets are involved, it can be incredibly stressful and different laws will apply to the pets – even though the couple may consider the pet family. A small minority of states will consider the emotional attachment of pets during a divorce proceeding, but the majority of states will treat the pet as a piece of property. Like many issues in family court, it is better to settle outside of court so both parties can be involved with the decision making process. This will be especially true when deciding where the family pet will live.

Pets in the Law Generally
In the majority of states, pets are considered personal property.[i] During the divorce proceeding, there are a few ways of dividing up personal, or tangible, property but deciding how to divide the family dog is a little more difficult than deciding who is going to get the couch in the living room or the table in the dinning room. Despite this, the courts still consider dogs in this category. Often times in divorce proceedings, unless the property is incredibly valuable, parties go back and forth and chose items they want to keep.[ii] The parties do their best to keep things even, and divide each room of the house evenly in some way.

When it comes to pets, especially families with one pet that is not an easy task. Even families that have two, or four pets, it is still difficult to determine where that pet will be going. For this reason, and many others, many animal rights activists have been fighting for the courts to recognize that pets should be treated differently than property, at least during a divorce or separation proceeding. To the majority of families with pets view their pets as part of the family, so deciding where the couch goes is inherently different than where the family dog will go.

To read more on this story, click here: Pets in Divorce Proceedings


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