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Don’t lose your pet in a divorce

On Behalf of | Sep 15, 2022 | Division of Property

You and your spouse may not agree on a lot – it may have been the reason you and your spouse are getting a divorce. When it comes to dividing assets, your dog, cat, bird or fish may be lumped in the mix.

It can be a scary thought that you might lose your pet after your divorce. You shouldn’t have to worry about losing your furry, feathery or scaly friend in a divorce. Here’s what you should know:

Pets are no longer considered property

California once considered pets as property when dealing with the division of assets during a divorce. That means a judge would consider the ownership of your pet the same way you own your stove, your car or your phone. Having your pet considered an object can be a bit degrading — and hugely upsetting when you consider the implications.

Unlike many states, however, that still consider pets as property, California took a new stance in 2019 adding Section 2605 to Family Code that considers the well-being of pets during a divorce dispute. This could give you a better chance at taking your pet with you in your life after divorce. 

There is no exact definition that determines what the well-being of a pet looks like. It is up to the judge to determine what the well-being of your pet means. A judge may consider:

  • Who handles and maintains your pet’s daily life: walks, vets, feeding, playing and grooming
  • Who is financially stable to pay for a pet’s veterinarian appointments 
  • Who the pet is registered under  
  • If the pet is a companion to a child or needed as a support animal

If you fear you might lose your pet through a divorce then you may need to know your options and find a resolution.