When a couple decides to end their marriage with a divorce, generally if they share children, a custody battle will ensue. But what if they share pets? Since animals are usually considered part of the family, there is also often a fight for the custody of the family pets. However, animals are seen as personal property, in the eyes of the law. Because the family pets are treated as property, and they will be treated as such during divorce proceedings. Here is what you should be aware of if you’re planning on ending your marriage, and you have questions about who gets the pets in a divorce proceeding.
If You and Your Spouse Can Compromise
If you and your spouse are willing to compromise in the divorce, it may be possible to devise a reasonable custody arrangement that works for everyone, pets included. These rulings will even apply if you own a breeding business. If you can agree on how to divide everything, you can retain control of the tone and tenor of the divorce proceedings. Depending on how lucrative the breeding business might be, it may be necessary to include other assets in the divorce negotiations, so the outcome is fair for both parties.
If You and Your Spouse Cannot Compromise
When a divorcing couple cannot agree on who gets to keep the pets, they must take the case to family court. While there won’t be a traditional custody battle, the family court judge will consider a large number of factors before issuing an order. As an example, the court may want to know if either party purchased the animals before marriage and if one party has better living conditions. Be prepared to prove which party handles:
- Most of the daily care of the animal
- Most of the food and veterinary expenses
- A lifestyle that’s best-suited to give attention to the pet
Hire a Qualified Divorce Attorney
Hire a Memphis divorce lawyer to help you with negotiating a favorable “custody” arrangement when it comes to the family pet. Hopefully, you and your former spouse can come to a favorable custodial arrangement for the family pet!