Property division may involve splitting the pooch in half
It may be true that many pets are bought, but that does not mean that pet owners necessarily view their furry friends as personal property. To the contrary, countless Utah families may consider themselves one member short if their dog or a cat were taken out of the picture. That is why couples approaching divorce should take into consideration who will keep the family pet, and for how long, during the property division process.
Pet custody disputes are on the rise in family court rooms across the nation, according to a recent survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Because so many pets are considered part of the family, it’s only natural that divorcing parties may be conflicted over who should have custody of the animal. And while many people can sympathize with the plight of divorcing pet owners, the law has yet to recognize animals as anything other than personal property in most cases. As such, arrangements accounting for the care and custody of animals are often made while dividing other assets. Even so, it’s recommended that pet owners be proactive and determine amongst themselves what’s in the best interest of the family pet.
Separating parties can consider the situation much like making child custody arrangement, keeping several important factors in mind. First off, if there are children in the family, parents may consider keeping the pet and the kids together. Both parties should also determine who has the time and resources to care for the animal.
The issue of determining pet custody is becoming increasingly common, and many courts are willing to consider such matters thoughtfully. In fact, pet support payments and visitation arrangements are not unheard of anymore either.