Your relationship has been going great and now you have both decided a pet would be a perfect addition to your family. Then the unthinkable happens—a divorce or breakup. What happens to your pet? Unfortunately, that family member so loved and cared about may now only be legally seen as property, nearly the same as a car or TV.
This can be one more bone of contention in what can already be a messy situation, or it could be a moment of mutual agreement as you both take your pet’s needs into consideration ahead of your own. Unless you think about the possibility in advance, however, you may be leaving it up to a court to decide who gets your furry, finned, or feathered friend.
What does a court consider in determining the custody of a pet?
If the couple is married, it depends on the type of pet and the overall number of pets in the home, said John Slowiaczek, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML).
“The key factor will always be who provides the primary care for the pet—walking, grooming, taking to the veterinarian,” Slowiaczek said. “Something else that might be a determination could be who the animal associates to as its primary companion in the home. If...