Factors Used to Determine Custody of a Pet


Disputes over the custody of family pets are becoming increasingly common after a Pasadena divorce.

Traditionally, pets were considered to be personal property during a divorce settlement. But as any animal lover knows, a beloved cat or dog is nothing like a leather sofa or an expensive antique lamp.

In response to growing concerns about the welfare of a pet post-divorce, judges are beginning to give careful consideration to pet custody arrangements. When determining who will get primary custody of an animal, some factors that will be considered include:

  • If there are children who are attached to the pet, who will have custody of the children? Keeping the family pet with the children can provide a source of continuity during a stressful time for them.
  • Who can financially afford to provide for the pet's needs? This is especially important if you have an older pet who requires special medication and/or frequent vet visits.
  • Do you have a schedule that allows you to care properly for the pet? If you work full time, do you have access to someone who can assist you in caring for your pet?
  • If the pet is a dog, who has the necessary space for him to run and play?

If the spouses plan to live near each other after the divorce, it may be possible to work out a joint custody agreement or to provide one person with with visitation rights. This requires that you be willing to set aside some of your differences for the sake of your pet, but it's a strategy that is supported by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF).

If you have two pets, splitting them up might sound like a fair solution. However, many animals become quite attached to each other. Separating the family pets might cause an unexpected emotional strain for the animals.

How Can We Help?

If you have questions about the custody of your family pet after your divorce, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at info@PasadenaLawOffice.com. Our Pasadena family law attorneys have the skills and experience needed to advocate for your interests throughout the settlement process.