What to Know About Pet Custody in Divorce

In addition to child custody, more and more often, couples who divorce find themselves fighting over “pet custody.” You may consider your pet as part of the family. Yet, until recently, courts considered pets as property, no different than a piece of furniture. However, courts now realize the “cherished status afforded to pets in our society.” Although, pets are still considered “property,” they understand that pets should be treated differently than other types of property.

In many situations, couples facing the issue of “who gets the pet,” find that mediation may help them work through this issue. For those couples where mediation isn’t right, then the Court and a Judge may have to get involved. In considering who keeps the pet, a Judge would consider the following factors: (i) who paid for the pet; (ii) whose name is listed as the owner of the pet; (iii) who took the pet to the veterinarian; (iv) who bore the primary responsibility for caring for the pet; and (v) who held themselves out as the owner of the pet through their words and actions.

Some other factors that may be considered are who is in the better position to meet the pet’s daily physical and emotional needs based on a healthy, active lifestyle, time constraints, type of home and yard, emotional bond, safety concerns, access to the outdoor and access to veterinary care and pet stores.

Overriding all the above, is whether the parties have children and a pet. In those situations, typically, the pet will follow the children. In other words, when the children are with one parent, the pet is with that parent as well. When the children go with the other parent, the pet follows.  Many parents find this solution works for the children, themselves, and the pet.

David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. provides real-world advice to help you through this challenging time. If you are contemplating getting a divorce, and need an attorney to represent you, call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office today at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport, Suffolk County and Uniondale, Nassau County.

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