If you are getting divorced, you probably realize that you will have to divide your assets as well as time with your children. However, you might also decide to divide something else: custody of your pet.
Increasingly, pets are becoming a point of contention in California divorces. People fight over them in the same way they fight over children. If you have a pet that you expect to be an issue in your divorce, it can be helpful to understand how you might handle this matter.
Pet custody arrangements
If you want to share custody of a pet, you will decide on a schedule for when each person will have the animal. Your arrangement can be similar to a child custody arrangement. For instance, you might have custody every other week, or your pet might spend weekdays with one person and weekends with the other.
You can also discuss custody exchanges. Will you pick up the animal when it’s your time, or will you meet at a neutral location? Planning these details out can make any interaction you have with your ex less stressful and more predictable.
Sharing a pet is not for everyone. Many people don’t want to share custody or they don’t see it as a viable option. In these situations, divorcing spouses or the courts will decide who will keep the pet. As this article on pet custody laws notes, there are many factors to consider when making this decision.
These factors include who purchased the animal, who was the primary care provider and which person is better suited to take care of the pet.
Understand that in the eyes of the law, pets are property. While many judges are sympathetic to the challenges facing pet owners during divorce, there is no guarantee that an individual judge will treat your like a member of your family and not a piece of furniture. Because of this, it can be in everyone’s best interest to resolve pet custody issues outside of court.