When you file for divorce in California, one of the parts of the filing is property division. During this, your assets and liabilities are divided equitably.
In the past, pets were viewed as property. Because of this, they would be divided just like your car, house and other assets. Today, though, things have changed.
Pet custody in California
California is one of the few states that allows the family court to view the custody of a pet as they do the custody of children. What this means is that the best interest of the pet has to be considered. As pets are now thought of as a member of the family by many, this is a change that makes sense and that may be long overdue.
What is considered in pet custody?
Just like child custody, the judge is going to look at what is best for the pet. For example, who feeds, walks and takes care of the pet’s basic needs? In most cases, this is the person who will receive custody.
The court may also consider the emotional well being of the parties when establishing pet custody and while it is not necessary to claim the pet as a “support animal”, the court may consider the emotional connection that each party has with the pet when making determinations about who will receive custody.
It’s also possible to share custody of a pet. This allows both pet parents to have time with the animal throughout the year.
Proving that you should be the pet’s sole owner
If you want full custody of the pet, you should be ready to present evidence that shows this is best for the animal. You may even want to call on others who see you as the pet’s owner because you provide most of their care. This is going to give you the best chance of being awarded custody.
Protecting your rights in a pet custody case
When it comes to pet custody, there are more than a few factors to consider. Since California will consider what is in the best interest of the animal, be ready to present evidence that proves this.
Pet custody in cases with domestic violence
Domestic violence is another issue the court may consider in awarding pet custody. In cases of domestic violence, the court can order one party to have temporary custody and care of the pet, particularly if there is a concern that the pet’s safety is at risk or that the abusive party may use the pet as a way to continue abusing the victim.