Who Keeps the Pet During a Divorce?

For many people, their pets are considered a member of the family. Many couples have an inseparable relationship with their pets and often become concerned about who keeps the pet during a divorce. Although many of us view pets as a part of the family, California courts don’t share this view. When parties decide to get a divorce, California courts categorize pets as property. The law considers your pets an asset with an assigned value, similar to your home, car, and bank accounts. To determine who will keep your pet, the court must establish a set value for your pet.

How Does the Court Decide Who the Pet Stays With?

When you get a divorce, property is characterized either as separate property, community property, or a mixture of both. Community property is any property that was acquired during the marriage, and separate property is any property acquired before the marriage, after the date of separation, or during the marriage as a gift. If the court characterizes your pet as community property, the pet will be treated as an asset and will be valued and divided along with all other marital assets.

The value of your pet will usually be determined by the amount the animal could be sold for on the open market. The court would then place an economic value to the pet unless the pet is a service animal.

How Does the Court Determine Who Keeps the Pet?

The court will ultimately determine which party will keep the pet. One of the best ways to ensure that you keep your pet is to negotiate with the other party. In some cases, the couple creates a “visitation” agreement that will allow both parties to continue seeing the pet after the divorce. If the parties can’t come up with an agreement, the court will have to make the decision.

Need Legal Assistance? Contact Our Southern California Divorce Attorneys Today!

At Law Offices of H. William Edgar, our top priority is to protect your rights and your family. We know how meaningful pets can be to you, and it can be difficult for both parties to lose them. Our divorce lawyers in Southern California utilize their experience working with local judges and courts to help navigate the legal system. We work aggressively to ensure that our clients' rights are protected and to help them achieve their desired results. We serve clients throughout Riverside, Anaheim, Temecula, and Palm Desert.

Need legal assistance during a divorce? Call our Southern California divorce lawyers today at (888) 251-9618!

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