Who Gets the Family Dog?

A family dog can be more than just a pet, it can seem like an actual part of the family. Therefore, when a married couple files for divorce, it may be legitimate to worry about who will get the beloved dog. Dogs are treated as property in a divorce, not as a custody matter. Dogs are not dealt with the same way children are, even though some dog owners may feel as though their pet might as well be a child.

In the state of California, attorneys operate suing community property. This means that when a couple marries, all possessions are fused together. The American Academy of Matrimonial lawyers recently reported that there has been a significant increase in the number of pet custody cases throughout the U.S. This means that more and more individuals are struggling to gain possession of the family pet.

Some judges are becoming more and more open-minded about pet custody cases and are even starting to evaluate the cases using a variety of different factors, such as what is best for the pet. In some states, courts will even award shared custody, visitation, and pet support payments regarding the family dog.

The courts may look at whether or not you have a flexible work schedule or access to a reliable person who can help you to care for your pet properly while you are at work. The judge may also look at whether you or your ex-spouse ever neglected the animal's basic needs or acted abusively towards the pet.

Oftentimes, the individual who gets child custody will also get custody of the animal, especially if the children are fond of the pet. Judges may also determine the best living environment for the dog, choosing the home that provides space for the dog to exercise and play.

If you want more information about pet custody, or would like to embark on a pet custody lawsuit, then talk to a San Fernando divorce lawyer at Cutter & Lax today! With the right attorney on your side, you will be able to consider a pet custody lawsuit and all of the implications of this court battle.