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Family Solutions

Who gets the dog or cat in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2022 | Divorce

Divorce is a stressful situation. Not just for the spouses, but every member of the family, including the household pets – even though they’re likely none the wiser about the situation. For many couples, pets are akin to children, so disputes over who gets custody of the family dog, cat or scaly critter can get fierce. 

So who gets the pet in a divorce? Here’s what you should know:

Pets now get special status

Many states designate pets as personal property, to be awarded to one person, similar to a couch or a fridge. California used to do that too. However, under Family Code 2605, California judges now consider the well-being of your pets. That is to say, pet ownership is akin to child custody.

What can you do to strengthen your pet custody case?

Judges will take a series of things into account to determine the well-being of the pet.

A few factors can include:

  •       Who pays for the pets’ clinical visits?
  •       Who feeds, plays or walks the pet?
  •       What emotional connections do the family’s children have with the pet?
  •       Who purchased the pet?

Every factor matters, and presenting every last detail is key when fighting for your pet. Alternatively, if you can reach an agreement yourselves, you can ask the judge to approve it.

In the end, what’s best for our pets may be what’s best for us. Divorce is a highly stressful situation, and pets can help you get through it. If you’re worried about who will get the pet in a divorce, you may want to seek guidance today.