Home > Blog

Who Gets To Keep The Pets In a Divorce?

Dogs, cats, and other domestic pets owned by American households have earned a special place in their owner's hearts. Most pet owners do not treat their pets like some random animal. Animals that were once considered pets have gradually grown into full-fledged family members. They get the same love and treatment from everyone. 

Unfortunately, not all state laws do not treat animals with the same respect that they do their owners, which can present problems during a divorce. If the two separating couples are unable to reach an agreement on their own, there is usually no legal system in place to determine who gets to keep the pets. Consult with a divorce lawyer who can assist you in the pet custody and owner in divorce.

Are There Laws Put In Place?

Pet custody laws are uncommon at the moment. Only five states presently require judges to make custody decisions based on the best interests of the animal. This is most likely similar to the "best interests of the child" approach used by many other states when determining custody judgments. There is no guaranteed metric to determine the best interests of pets. Following the 

a children's custody approach gives flexibility to make sure that the pet is taken care of. 

Three other states have had individual court decisions that applied this idea but have not enacted statutes that specifically address pet custody. However, for the time being, judges in many other states will continue to regard pets as property rather than members of the family. Divorcing spouses have various needs when it comes to how they handle pet custody concerns.

Can Mediation be used as a technique to reach an agreement? 

Because there are no laws governing pet custody, some separating couples have wasted time and money conflicting over who gets to keep the family dog or cat. Creating a personalized agreement through divorce mediation could be the solution they might be looking for. Letting someone else decide without favoring you or your partner could be the best option for the well-being of the pet. 

Mediation is often faster, less expensive, and less stressful than a direct divorce. The fact that the parties mutually decide on the parameters of the agreement may be the most significant benefit. A mediator is a neutral professional whose purpose is to increase communication and help couples in reaching an agreement. This is the most preferred solution, and sometimes, this is precisely what the couples need. If they are successful in getting a deal, it can be documented in writing and authorized by a judge. 

More to Read: