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What happens to your pet during divorce?

On Behalf of | Feb 29, 2024 | Divorce

If you’re getting a divorce, you need to divide marital assets with your ex. Though there are some exceptions, it generally means dividing assets that the two of you purchased during your marriage. You also need to split up income that you earned or financial accounts that you have, like investments or retirement accounts.

While considering all of these high-value assets, you may wonder what is going to happen to your family pet. If you and your spouse purchased a dog together, for example, it is also a marital asset that you share. But your pet certainly feels like a part of your family. So how will the court address this?

Property division applies to pets

The most important thing for you to know is that, from a legal standpoint, your pet is not part of the family. It is a property that you own. This means that, when two people can’t agree, the dog has to go through the property division process. One person may get to keep the dog and the other person may get a different asset that has a similar value.

But what people are often looking for is more of a custody plan where they’ll get to share time with their dog. This is because they think of it as a part of the family. And it is fine if you and your ex want to set up this type of schedule on your own. But you just need to be aware that the court isn’t going to do it for you – because the court sees your pet as property. This can make the divorce process a bit complex, so be sure you know about all of the legal steps to take moving forward.