Your pet is your best friend, but what happens to your dog or cat if you go through a divorce? Many California couples face this difficult situation.
If you’re going through a custody battle involving an animal, you might not know exactly what to expect. Here are a few tips you can use to avoid a messy pet custody battle.
What does a court consider when resolving a pet custody dispute?
Under the law, pets are seen as marital property, just like your home, furniture and other belongings. A court may use a variety of different factors to determine who will get custody, such as:
- The best interest of the pet
- Who purchased the animal
- Which spouse primarily cares for the pet
What is a pet custody agreement?
A pet custody agreement is a legal contract designed to assign custody of a family pet if a couple decides to divorce.This document will spell out details like who will be responsible for the pet’s financial needs, who will get custody of the pet and whether the other spouse will have visitation rights. If you want to avoid conflict about your pet in the future, it might be a good idea to create a pet custody agreement.
How to create a pet custody agreement
Think of a pet custody agreement like you would think about a child custody agreement. You should be as detailed as possible when drawing up an agreement. Include a weekly schedule of visitation for your spouse, and include information about who will make important medical decisions for your pet. You can even specify rules about taking the pet outside of the state.
You might not think that you need a pet custody agreement, but it’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your furry family member. If you need help creating an agreement, contact your family law attorney.