Who gets the Fido in the divorce?
Over 709 million households have pets, and the dilemma of who gets custody of the pets due to a divorce is a growing problem. Pets are often referred to as “furry” children by loving owners, but when it comes to a divorce; pets are considered personal property not children. In the eyes of the law, visitation rights or shared custody of a pet is similar to each spouse having the toaster on the weekends. With the children, the law is designed to protect the best interest of the child, but when it comes to pets, the benefit is more toward the owner than for the pet. If you do have children, pairing the custody of the children may help with the care of the pet, as keeping children and pets in the same household may very well be in the best interest of the children.
In most cases, before the courts make a decision on property distribution, they must take into account, if the state jurisdiction follows community property (50/50 split) or equitable distribution (split fairly, but not necessarily evenly). Then the court needs to decide if the property belongs to the couple or an individual brought the property (pet) into the marriage.
In addition, the financial worth of a particular piece of property is also considered. Any pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement between the couple is also taken into account, when making the final decision about property division.
If you need legal advise in regards to a divorce, speak with a Pintar Albiston divorce attorney. Their office is located at 6053 S Fort Apache Rd #120, Las Vegas, NV 89148. Call for a free consultation on 702-685-5255. To find out more information you can visit their Google Plus page here.
Since pets are considered personal property, if one spouse can prove ownership, prior to the marriage, or if it can be proven that non-martial funds have been used for the purchase and/or care for the pet, it may help you win custody of your beloved pet.
In addition, when gathering information to present to the judge to prove that you are the best caretaker for the pet, obtain a letter from your vet, stating that you have brought the animal in for regular checkups. Also, have character witnesses (such as neighbors, friends, and family) on hand to testify.
It should also be proven that you are financially able to care for the pet, including daily food suppy, emergency situations, and services (such as groomers or dog walkers). Remember, since the courts consider pets as property, financial support will not be required from the other spouse to care for the pet.
If both parties are truly concerned about what is best for their pet, the following questions should be asked:
- Does one spouse do a lot of traveling?
- Which spouse has a predictable routine?
- Is one party’s workday shorter than the other?
- Are pets welcome where each spouse is living?
- Is there sufficient outdoor space for a pet to get sufficient exercise?
The overall emotional and physical health of the pet should be taken into consideration. For instance, stress can increase in animals, if their surroundings and primary care taker change significantly. If you notice changes in their behavior, such as loss of appetite or biting themselves, it is advised that you seek medical attention for your pet.
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