Pets often disputed during property division phase of divorce

People in the United States are often in love with their pets. Some treat them as their own children; they want to give them the best lives possible since these animals increase their own quality of life. The thought of having to part ways with a valued pet can be upsetting. However, if a person gets a divorce in California, that individual's spouse very well may end up with the animal following a court decision regarding property division.

It is worth noting that a majority of households in the United States include pets. People develop strong bonds with their pets, so fighting over the family animal can be an emotionally difficult situation for those getting a divorce. The animals that are fought over the most are dogs, while cats are second.

In some cases, a spouse may threaten to try to get custody of a pet if one doesn't agree to give up another valuable item in return. If the situation ends up in front of a judge, the judge will look at a wide range of factors before determining who ultimately will keep the animal, which the law treats as personal property. The pet also may be viewed as a business asset if the married couple bred and sold animals together.

The judge will take into consideration who has most time to care for the pet and whose pet it was before the two got married. The court's goal is to make sure that the pet ends up in the best situation. It is possible to avoid court intrusion if a couple created a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that thoroughly addresses property division, which includes explaining who will get to keep any shared pets. It is within the rights of both divorcing individuals to pursue their own wishes and best interests when it comes to their beloved animals in California.

Source: Forbes, "How Are Pets Handled In Divorce?", Jeff Landers, April 17, 2014

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