One of the hardest things about getting a divorce is deciding what happens to the family pet. You may not be aware of this, but pets are not considered family in the same sense you’d imagine. Instead, pets are technically personal property, which means that they will be part of your property division arrangements.
While many people don’t want to think about their pets as property or as objects, the reality is that the court treats them that way. It is in your best interests to negotiate with your spouse to determine what will happen to your pet. In most cases, people opt to allow one person to keep the pet. However, this isn’t always what happens.
If you go to court, it is likely that a judge will award ownership of the pet to one person or the other. You, on the other hand, can negotiate a custody agreement with the other party if you so wish. You can do this through your attorneys and settle where your pet will live, how it will get to appointments and other important negotiations before you ever step into court.
What happens if you can’t decide what happens to your pet?
When it comes down to it, the court will treat your pet as if it is property. The court has to look at the actual value of your pet, not the sentimental value. For instance, you may think that your pet is worth more to you than your home. However, the true value of your pet could probably be found by looking at the market value of similar dogs or cats.
In reality, your pet may mean more to you than your home, but it will not be more valuable than the home and your property division negotiations. This is something your attorney can help you approach with your spouse, so you do what’s in your pet’s best interests.