For most pet owners, pets are valuable members of the family, and living without them can be hard to imagine. However, when couples are undergoing divorce, pets are considered personal property; therefore, the couple must decide who gets to keep the pet and who must relinquish ownership. Even though this decision can be very emotional, there are several key factors that California separating spouses should keep in mind when deciding who gets to keep the pets.

First of all, each spouse should consider what his or her own lifestyle will be like after divorce. Each person should think about whether he or she will have the financial means to properly care for the pet on that person’s own. Another factor to consider is whether or not that person will have a work schedule that will allow for proper pet care, or at least someone who can assist with that process.

Spouses should also base their decision on the other spouse as well. For example, if the other spouse has previously neglected or abused the animal, then that spouse should not keep the pet after the divorce. Other factors to consider are which spouse has primary custody of the children, who will undoubtedly want to spend more time with the family pet, as well as which spouse will have more spacious living arrangements after the divorce.

Even though facing the possibility of losing one’s pet can be very emotional, there are several factors that each spouse must consider in that person’s own life as well as the spouse’s in order to make the best decision for the pet. Although, some states allow shared custody of pets, which could make this decision easier. All California couples going through a divorce would benefit from reviewing all of their legal options when it comes to pet ownership after divorce in order to make the best decision for that pet.

Source: The Huffington Post, Who Gets the Family Dog After Divorce?, Nancy Kay, Nov. 10, 2013