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Pet Custody

In the world of divorce, issues of pet custody and divorce exist somewhere between the realm of division of marital properties and matters of child custody.

While the law in nearly every jurisdiction in the United States views pets as items of property – akin to the 42-inch plasma TV or leather ottoman – more courts are beginning to recognize the need to address the very serious issue of deciding pet guardianship after divorce.

Creating a Case for Pet Custody
Divorce attorneys and law schools are helping to forge the way for concerned pet owners who want the courts to better understand the intrinsic differences between their beloved animal companions and the dining room table.  

In 2004, The Christian Science Monitor reported that “dozens of law schools around the country - including Harvard, Georgetown, and Yale - offer animal law classes that have segments on pet custody.”

Before taking the marital plunge:
Consider including your pet in your pre-nuptial agreement.

If no pre-nup exists, consider having an divorce attorney help you to draw one up, with inclusion of what will happen to the pet upon divorce.

If you are currently involved in a divorce process and find yourself more concerned with maintaining guardianship of Fido and Spot than in snagging the keys to the luxury sedan, you are not alone.

Lawyers in the United States are experiencing a rise in divorce cases that involve decisions of pet custody. A divorce lawyer who is experienced in both child custody and division of marital property can help guide you in your quest to regain and maintain some form of ownership of your beloved pet.

To begin, ask your divorce attorney to look into the possibility of mediation or arbitration in determining the guardianship of the family pet. This might be the best option, particularly if the judge that is handling the divorce case does not want to decide issues of pet custody.

If the pet was yours prior to the marriage or you paid for the pet, you might have better odds of winning guardianship. However, prior ownership does not automatically equal post-divorce custody. The issue of pet custody is also dependent on who acted as primary caretaker for the pet for the duration of the marriage.

Let find a divorce attorney that can help you get your beloved pet back from your ex spouse!

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