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The Truth About Cats and Dogs and Divorce

We Californians are crazy in love with our animals. Los Angeles starlets are often photographed coddling their pampered pooches. The city of San Francisco prides itself on having dozens of pet-friendly resorts and hotels. Meanwhile, San Diego boasts a rich and lengthy history of protecting and preserving marine life. Naturally, the Golden State also has special legal provisions in place to protect our furry friends caught in the cross fires of divorce.

On September 11th, 2007, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law SB 353 which amended Family Code 6320. Under SB 353, family courts may grant exclusive care of any animal to a party. The courts also can take measures to restrain another party from taking, attacking or hurting an animal. This law aims to prevent any sort of revenge behavior taken out on a helpless animal and is treated very seriously. Participants who do not follow the rulings made under SB 353 could be fined or even jailed. A restraining order can be ordered so that one party stays away from the animal. On showing good cause, the provision grants the petitioner exclusive care of the animal or animals in question.

This being said, legally dogs, cats, lizards and all other critters are considered property so the terms of custody that apply to children are invalid when it comes to pets. Still, attorneys and judges alike have been known to step in and decide on terms of animal visitation and custody. Animals -- unlike lamps or appliances -- become members of our families, so it is no wonder that in divorce the question of who gets to keep Mittens or Rover can be highly charged and emotional. The best plan of action is to alert your legal team immediately about the animal and to enter mediation quickly to decide where the beloved pet ends up. For divorce advice in Pasadena, contact us today so we can help you protect your cherished pet.