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Who keeps the pet in the divorce?

On Behalf of | Feb 12, 2023 | Divorce |

There are many complicated questions to answer when you’re getting divorced, and a lot of them revolve around dividing assets. Couples need to split up the items that they own, and they also need to divide their debt. For example, they may sell a home and split the money, or they could divide financial accounts in half.

But things get a bit more complicated when looking at pets. Who gets to keep your pet?

Is the pet a marital asset?

First of all, you need to identify whether or not the pet counts as a marital asset. If someone purchased it before the marriage, then it is probably a separate asset and they get to keep that pet, even if both people have now been living with the pet for years. It still belongs to the person who purchased it on their own. But if you and your spouse bought the pet together, then it belongs to both of you and is subject to property division.

That is the second point that many people often overlook, assuming that they could set up some sort of custody plan to share their pet after a divorce. But the court is not going to do this. A pet is property, and so property division laws apply. This means that the only option the court has is to give the pet to one person and to give the other person assets with an equal value. If you want to share the pet, you and your spouse will have to come up with a schedule to do so on your own.

Issues like this can often get very contentious and complicated, and that’s why it’s so important to know about all of your legal options.