We love our pets like they are members of our families. If you are facing a divorce, the thought of your spouse taking your pet permanently can be devastating.
Pet custody is not like child custody. With a human child, the court must determine which arrangement would be in his or her best interest to develop a parenting schedule. Although you might consider your pet to be your child, the court does not see it this way. To the court, your pet is a piece of personal property, just like your couch or your bicycle.
Pets are Personal Property
Like other pieces of personal property, pets are subject to equitable distribution in Florida divorces. Most pets have no value beyond the companionship they provide, which leaves their custody solely in the hands of their divorcing caregivers.
When an animal does have monetary value, like a racehorse or a show dog, the animal’s monetary value could be considered when the court divides the couple’s property. The couple might choose to sell the animal and share the profit or agree that one spouse retains the animal and the other receives an appropriately sized share of other assets, like a portion of the couple’s savings.
Work with your Spouse to Determine a Fair Pet Custody Agreement
Your pet’s custody after your divorce is something you need to work out with your spouse. Think about the living arrangement that is in the pet’s best interest. Does one partner have a large yard where a dog can run, or is one partner planning to move to an apartment that might not permit pets? Work together to find the right arrangement for your pets.
Some couples simply give their pets the same custody schedule as their children have. If you and your spouse both have sufficient space and resources for the pet in your homes, this could be an option for you. This way, your children always have their pet around, both parents get to spend time with the pet, and neither partner has to feel guilty about “taking” the pet or feel like he or she “lost” custody of the animal.
Draper Law Office Can Help you Develop a Pet Custody Plan
Brainstorm your pet custody strategy with an experienced divorce lawyer. This can be the most effective way for you and your spouse to reach an agreement about your pet’s custody after your divorce. To get started, call Draper Law Office today at (866) 7676-4711 to set up your free, no-obligation consultation in one of our three convenient office locations: Kissimmee, St. Cloud, and Orlando.