Divorce means that it is time for you and your spouse to divide your lives. If you have children together, that may mean dividing up the time that you spend with them and the responsibility to make decisions for them. If you have property that you’ve purchased together or money that you’ve earned, it means that you have to divide those assets between the two of you.
One area where things can get a bit tricky is when it comes to pets. Many people think of their pets more like just another member of the family. But the law defines your pet as a piece of property. So how do you determine who gets to keep the pet?
Property division instead of a custody schedule
First and foremost, there are those who believe they will get a custody schedule from the court for their pet. They will not. You can get a custody schedule for your children, and some couples do agree to share the pet on the same schedule. But the court does not consider the pet to be part of your family, so they’re not going to make an officially-binding order saying you have to share ownership. They only do that with the children because they are looking out for the best interests of those children.
This means that your pet is subjected to property division. One of you can keep the pet and the other can keep a different asset that has a similar financial value. The only exception to this may be if one of you purchased the pet before the marriage, so it counts as separate property that you brought to that marriage with you.
Situations like this can be complicated, so you need to know about your legal options.