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Pet parents may have to fight for ownership during divorce

| Apr 20, 2020 | Divorce Disputes |

California residents come to the decision to end their marriages for various personal reasons. In many cases, couples find themselves in contentious relationships and do not believe it would be healthy to remain in those relationships. Of course, they usually know that marital contention can bleed into divorce proceedings, and individuals may fight over everything, including pets.

Many couples get pets during the course of their marriages, and often, they consider their pets part of the family. However, when it comes to divorce, courts in the majority of states consider pets property and not members of the family. Fortunately, California has laws that stipulate that pets are not treated as property, and instead, their future well-being is taken into consideration when determining ownership during divorce.

While this may be in the pets’ best interests in the long run, it can mean that the divorcing parties may have to fight for ownership, much like they would for child custody. If a couple is already facing conflict at every turn and did not create a “pup nup,” or document indicating what should happen with a pet in the event of divorce, they may have a long road ahead when it comes to fighting for ownership. Recent reports show that more couples are fighting for pet ownership in divorce cases, with an increase in such conflict in the last five years.

If California residents are concerned about their pets and how divorce will affect them, they are not alone. It may be important for them to gain information on how the court may view their pets during their legal proceedings. Fortunately, attorneys experienced in contentious family law cases could help address the matter.