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How are pets handled in California divorces?

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2022 | Divorce |

Not every California divorce winds up being contentious, but there are many issues that may raise ire for you or your one-time partner along the way. For many couples, the custody of the one-time family pet proves to be a point of contention. If you currently share a pet with the person you plan to divorce, you may wonder what happens next.

According to Kiplinger, the state of California is one of a handful of states that have changed the way they view and handle pets in divorce.

How most states handle pets in divorces

In most states, courts consider pets to be property. The person who winds up with the pet in a divorce is often the person who financed the pet’s life by paying vet bills, supplying food and so on. Courts in many states give little if any consideration to how much of an emotional attachment you or your former partner may have to the pet you once shared.

How California handles pets in divorces

California is one of the first states to start thinking about pet custody in the same way it does child custody – meaning California courts now consider the “best interests” of the pet before deciding where the animal should reside. Pet-sharing agreements have also become more common in recent years, and they serve a similar purpose to a parenting plan in that they both set guidelines to which both caregivers agree to abide.

Unless geographic limitations make it tough for you to split time with your pet, doing so may save both you and your former partner time, money and stress.


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