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What happens to your pet in a divorce?

| Apr 3, 2020 | Family Law |

Pets are not just loyal companions. They become just like members of the family. Some people even lovingly refer to themselves as dog or cat parents.

We love our furry friends, no matter what. That is why many people deciding to end their marriage wonder: who gets the family pet in the divorce?

Property division laws determine who keeps the pet

In Connecticut, pets are considered property. This can be difficult to fathom for pet owners who see their pet as a part of their family. However, since individuals do purchase and “own” pets, state law views them as property.

Therefore, pets are subject to the property division process in a divorce. Even so, some courts will consider unique factors, including the pet’s best interests, when determining who keeps the pet in the event of a divorce. For example, family courts might consider:

  • Who purchased the pet?
  • Who bought necessities and supplies for the pet?
  • Who pays for the pet’s veterinary visits?
  • Who provides the most pet care?

If one spouse is more involved in caring for the pet than the other, they will most likely keep the pet in the divorce.

Is it possible to have a pet custody arrangement?

Deciding who keeps the pet and dividing ownership like any other piece of property might seem inhumane and impossible for some spouses. In these cases, some might wonder if they can create some sort of custody arrangement?

So far, only Illinois and Alaska have established laws that could allow for this sort of arrangement. However, Connecticut precedent determines that couples can create a sort of custody agreement for their pets – but only if they agree on the arrangement.