Divorce comes with confusion and mixed emotions. The question of who gets custody of pets may be even more confusing- especially since pets can begin to feel like family. Courts often look out for the interest of human children and allow for shared custody or whatever they deem best for the children. However, the case is not the same for pets. Pets are personal property according to the law. That means that courts cannot grant the divorcing parties shared custody. Shared custody of a pet, according to the law, would be the same as according shared custody for a piece of furniture or gadget.
How to Get Custody of Your Pet During Divorce
If your pet is important to you, you must be ready to compromise. Speak to your spouse and let them know that you are willing to give something up in exchange for your pet. Bargain with a piece of property that is important to your spouse. If you reach an agreement, the court will accept it. If your spouse is unwilling to listen to you, find a third party to help you. Your mediator may offer recommendations for the court. They will prepare documents for you and your spouse to sign if the mediation is successful.
Fight It In Court
If mediation fails, you may need to take the matter to court. If you have proof that your spouse is abusive to your pet, present it in court. Hire an attorney to help you with the case. If the pet is your legal property, prepare evidence to prove it. Always be willing to give mediation a chance even when the matter is in court. If the judge rules against you, you may file for an appeal.
Fortunately, more courts are beginning to view pets as more than just property. Courts have started to prioritize the interests of pets and even awarding visitation rights and shared custody to the owners.
At Aldrich Legal Services, our family law practice is headed by Brad Aldrich, a knowledgeable divorce lawyer with more than 20 years of legal experience. Our focus is on resolving your dispute as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible, while fully safeguarding your rights. If your divorce is not settled before trial, we have the courtroom skills and experience to help you obtain the best possible outcome. Contact us today at (734) 404-3000.