If you and your soon-to-be former spouse share a pet, you might be in for a bit of a hurdle. Unlike children, battling over the family pet is often considered to be a matter of ownership rather than custody. However, in California, the state has the California Family Code Section 6320, which protects domestic animals in cases where it is believed that one party might harm the pet. As such, if domestic abuse is involved in your case, a pet can be included in a domestic violence restraining order or require law enforcement to remove the pet from a potentially harmful situation.
That said, obtaining custody of a pet is still a difficult obstacle to overcome if you and your former spouse cannot reach an agreement through negotiations. Generally, having a prenuptial agreement that states which spouse gets to maintain ownership of the pet is the most effective way to avoid a nasty tug-of-war. If you do not have a prenuptial agreement, consider allowing the pet to live with the custodial parent of any children you might share since they might have a particular attachment to their animal friend. If the pet was yours before the marriage, provide proof, and you will likely be able to retain ownership of it.
A judge might also consider which spouse is the primary caretaker of the pet. The primary caretaker is essentially the person who did most of the work in caring for the pet, including walking, feeding, grooming, and other day-to-day needs. Given that the law is still relatively behind in terms of determining which spouse gets to keep the family pet, you will need a skilled and experienced divorce attorney to fight on your behalf.
Rocklin Family Law Attorneys
Deciding to move forward with a divorce is never an easy decision, even if it was reached amicably. At The Law Offices of Keegan & Myers, PC, our Rocklin family law attorneys understand the sensitive and emotional issues couples face as they begin the process of dissolving their marriage. It is our goal to help bridge the gap between the complex legal process and help you and your family move forward to a more peaceful and happy future.
Backed by over 25 years of family law and legal experience, you can be confident in our ability to represent you.
Contact our office today at (916) 634-0067 to request your 30-minute initial consultation to speak with us confidentially. You should not have to go through this alone.