What Happens to Furry Companions When Pet Parents Split?


One of the most difficult things about going through a divorce is establishing then custody of children. But what about four-legged family members? More and more animal owners are seeking divorce advice in Pasadena when it comes to what will happen to their pets. After all, for many couples, the family dog or cat is more like a child than a pet; despite where the law stands, most pet owners certainly don't see Lucky as a simple piece of property.

Though societal trends are calling for a change in how the law views pets in divorce, the current state of the law is that pets are personal property and their custody is treated as such. There are other factors that can affect how pet custody is awarded and these include previous agreements by the owners, proof of ownership and sentimental value. According to Tabby McLain of the Animal Legal and Historical Center, "a number of judges have begun to reject the strict property analysis directed by the law that applies to dogs and sofas alike, although there is no direct basis in the law for the departure." This is good news for individuals with deep attachment to their pets.

Just like child custody, parents can come to an agreement with one another via a custody arrangement or it can be decided by the court. With family sizes decreasing, the emotional attachment to pets seems to be increasing and incidents of pet custody arguments taking place in the courtroom are likewise occurring more often. Sadly, stories of pets being used by one spouse to hurt the other are not uncommon and the law just isn't there to protect the interest of the animal... yet.

As the law evolves to fit societal requirements, we could see more court rulings for joint pet custody and pet support. Individuals wanting to protect their pets when entering a marriage can get a pet pre-nup to guard against any pet custody problems in the event of a divorce. Despite the fact that divorce law in Pasadena still views animals as personal property, forward-thinking attorneys recognize that pet parents are looking for an attorney that will see their dog or cat as a member of the family, to be treated with all the importance due a cherished loved one.