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But, who gets Rover and Miss Kitty?!?!

As American pet lovers, we’re glad the Texas Judge in article below considers what will happen with the pets when reviewing divorce cases.  http://www.kaufmanherald.com/community/article_660c8bc4-4911-11e6-96f7-8fa19ac96306.html

We at Tampa Friendly Divorce guide spouses through conversations and negotiations where the couples goal is to find PEACE with their Marital Settlement Agreement:

  • Parenting plan or how to co-parent the children of the marriage;
  • Equitable division of your assets and debts;
  • Alimony or spousal support of some kind (in many cases);
  • Child support regarding children of the marriage; and
  • Everything else you and your spouse might decide to include.

While some lawyers might still try to use the argument that “pets are like a member of the family”, the courts here in Florida have ruled that pets are personal property and they do not have the authority to grant custody or visitation rights to “personal property”.  So, family pets generally fall into the “Equitable Distribution” category.  In fact, if the pet is valuable as a source of income (award winning show pets, breeding, future litters, etc.), the pet may also figure into alimony/spousal support!

Most of the time, though, both parties are interested in keeping the love of the family pet(s).  However, following are a few items to consider when deciding where the pet(s) should live after the divorce:

  • Like most decisions, it is best if you can decide the issue of pet ownership outside the courtroom.
  • If minor children are involved it is also best to consider what role the pet plays in the children’s lives.
  • Consider the following post-divorce items:
    • Will you have space for your pet?
    • Will you have money to care for your pet?
    • Will your daily schedule be conducive to pet ownership?
  • You can be as creative as you wish when crafting such an agreement with your soon to be ex-spouse. These agreements can provide for “joint custody” of your pet as well as include a plan to share the various expenses that accompany pet ownership.

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