How Do You Handle Your Pet During a Divorce?

You and your spouse share two pets together. Your pets are bonded, always playing and sleeping together. This poses a problem for you because both of you would like to keep your pets despite the fact that you’re getting a divorce.

In your mind, your home is best for them. You have more time to care for them and more money, too. Your spouse disagrees and thinks that their home is best because they’re closer to a park and have a larger property.

What Can You Do, and What Does Florida Say About Pet Custody in Divorce?

Unlike some other states, Florida doesn’t grant custody of pets. Instead, it still sees pets as tangible personal property. What that means is that your pets are subject to equitable distribution laws just like any other personal property.

This may not seem fair, but it’s the reality. You and your spouse have other options, though. You may decide to set up a custody arrangement for your pet and bind that into a contract. It’s completely legal to do so. However, by law, there is no guarantee that this kind of action will happen during your divorce.

Options for Pets in a Divorce

So, what can you do? You likely have a few options:

  1. You keep both pets
  2. Your spouse keeps both pets
  3. You share time with the pets, transferring them between homes or allowing for visits
  4. You rehome the pets together
  5. You separate the pets and each takes one

In court, a judge is still likely to consider what’s best for the pet, because a pet is a living creature. However, pets are still property, so the judge may decide to place them with the person who has received less marital property or who has made a case for them.

It’s a good idea to talk over what you want to do outside of court if you can. There is no custody requirement for pets in Florida, so if you want that, you’ll need to come up with a plan that you agree to before going to court.

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  • Why Would People Keep Living Together After Divorce? Read More

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