Who Gets Pet Custody?

Negotiating the terms of a divorce settlement can be a complicated and stressful process for everyone involved. This process can become even messier when a couple has pets. Pets have a special place in their owner's hearts, which can lead to major custody disputes. In this blog, we explain what you need to know about pet custody when it comes to divorce.

Are Pets Considered Property?

For many, pets are like children, and are not just another asset that needs to be divided between each spouse. Seeing your cat or dog being awarded to your ex can be extremely upsetting. This is why it is crucial to become familiar with the laws in your states. Most states view pets as property that needs to be divided as part of the divorce settlement. However, more courts are allowing visitation schedules with the pet.

Determining Pet Custody

Courts look at the following factors to determine how time should be shared with the pet:

  • Which spouse cared for the pet
  • Which spouse spent the most time with the pet
  • Testimony from the pet's veterinarian
  • Where the spouses will live after their divorce is final
  • Which spouse is best equipped to care for the pet

Courts will also consider if there are children involved in the divorce. Courts generally award custody of the pet to the spouse that will have primary custody of the children.

Make a Pet Parenting Plan

If you and your ex agree that you should both spend time with the pet after your divorce, you can create an arrangement that fits your schedule and allows you to maintain a relationship with the animal. You can't be certain of how a court will react to your pet custody dispute, but having a parenting plan in place will show how important the animal is to you.

Pet Expenses

You will also need to come to an agreement about which spouse is responsible for the pet's expenses. This includes paying for things like:

  • Vet bills
  • Grooming
  • Food
  • Dog-walkers
  • Training classes

Get Help From a Richmond Divorce Lawyer Today

At DeFazio Bal, our team of attorneys are committed to giving our clients the individualized attention and compassion that they need to get through their divorce case. Our legal team has more than five decades of collective experience, and we are prepared to use our skills and resources to pursue a fair case result on your behalf. When you choose our legal professionals, you can be confident that we have the ability to answer your questions and handle your case. Let us get started today.

Call (804) 250-3729 to schedule your consultation with a Richmond divorce attorney.

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