Who Gets the Family Pet in a Divorce?

Most families consider their pet as a part of the family. When it comes time in your divorce to decide who gets Fido, how is that determined? You may wonder how the courts will make that decision.

In Florida, your pet is considered property. So, let’s say that you and your spouse divide everything up equally, then time shared with your pet should be equal as well. Many divorce lawyers here in Florida would like the courts to treat the family pet as they would a child in regards to custody, support, etc. But, since your pet is seen as property, the courts cannot award “custody” to either one of you.

The best route in this situation is to work with your spouse outside of the court system on arrangements for your pet’s care. Take a moment to review your current situation. Will you have the income to cover food, vet, and similar costs? If you moved from the family home, does the place allow pets? Will you be home enough to be a part of your pet’s daily life? Just like children, do what is in the best interest of your pet. Discuss different parenting plans with your spouse or divorce attorney. If you have children, then consider keeping your pets and kids on the same shared schedule.

In deciding who gets the pet either full-time or part-time, keep in mind your spouse’s feelings as well as your pet’s feelings. To be torn away from him/her can be devastating to your spouse and your pet. Be compassionate and do what is best for your pet in the end.

Once an arrangement is made, make sure that you have all of your pet’s registrations, vaccination records, that you are on the vet’s list as an owner, and anything else related to your pet. Maintaining record keeping makes you not only a great pet parent, but also a responsible pet owner.

Here at Barkus Law, we understand how emotional it can be to make the decision about the family pet. Reach out to us if you need advice for your divorce here in Broward county Florida. Call us at 954-349-7988 or contact us online. We look forward to speaking with you.

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