Pets and Your Divorce: Guidelines to Keep in Mind

divorce attorneysEveryone loves their pets! This is why it might come as a surprise that, when it comes to divorce, California generally regards pets as property, lumped in with other assets and possessions that are to be split evenly between feuding spouses. Fortunately, the courts aren’t entirely rigid on this and, when both parties are able to collaborate in order to reach an agreement, they will entertain pet custody arrangements between two parties.

Dealing with what happens to pets after a divorce can be an unorthodox situation, even though it is a fairly common occurrence. Fortunately, we have some guidelines for you to keep in mind as you work to figure out how to deal with your pets during your divorce. For more in-depth answers, remember to reach out to the family law attorneys at the R & S Law Group, LLP.

Keep Track of all Relevant Paperwork

Documents such as vet records, pet registrations, and Microchip ID numbers can help you establish that you are the rightful owner of your pet, especially when it comes to animals that you purchased or acquired before your marriage. In general, it is always wise to have all your records and documents in order before stepping into any family law court.

Consider a “Parenting” Plan

As mentioned, divorce arrangements can be unique in that the courts allows for special circumstances and exceptions when both parties can reach a mutual agreement. So, while pets are technically property under the eyes of the law, courts usually have no problem in allowing individuals to establish a “parenting plan” that gives multiple parties shared custody of a cherished pet.

When looking to make these arrangements, remember to keep all the minor details in mind. Who is going to cover what costs? What happens in the event that your pet needs unexpected and costly medical procedures? These and other potential issues should be hashed out in detail to avoid future conflict.

Keep an Open Mind and Practice Compassion

Above all, remember to keep everyone’s interests in mind rather than just your own. Even though you might love your pet, your spouse likely does as well, and pets also form strong bonds with their owners. If you truly care about your pets, you should not overlook their happiness and ensure that you are acting in good faith.

We hope this post has provided you with some useful information as you proceed with your divorce and other family law matters in California. If you have any other questions, or need to speak with a qualified family law attorney, be sure to reach out to us at the R & S Law Group, LLP today.