Fighting Over the Furbabies in a Divorce

  • Jan 30 2019

Who gets the pets in a divorce?

Massachusetts divorce attorneys help their clients navigate the difficult road that leads from married back to single life. Sometimes, with the help of their attorneys, couples are able to amicably come to terms on all of the necessary issues. Other times, litigation is necessary and the court will decide the issues that can’t be resolved between the parties.

As expected, child custody, child support, and visitation are some of the more emotionally-charged and difficult issues to work out when couples with minor children split one household into two.

In addition, all married couples–whether they have children or not– have to work through dividing up their property and address the issue of whether one spouse will pay alimony (also called spousal support) to the other, and if so, how much and for how long.

So, what happens to the family pets in a divorce?

People wonder if there is such a thing as pet custody– just like there is child custody—or are their four-legged “furbabies” merely viewed as the equivalent of a four-legged coffee table?

While state laws differ, the overwhelming majority of states consider pets to be property subject to division like the rest of the couple’s assets. This often comes as a shock to those who consider their pets to be members of the family. It is a common problem for millennials, who often have pets but may delay parenting to pursue their education or careers or to travel—and then divorce before having children together.

However, in the past two years three states– – Illinois, Alaska, and California – – have passed bills that “empower judges to consider the well-being of the animal… and to assign a joint custody schedule that’s in the critter’s best interest”. Now, pets in these states may be seen shuffling between both parent’s houses along with the couple’s children pursuant to the child custody schedule. Whether other states will join the pet custody trend remains to be seen.

If you are considering getting divorced, or have been served with divorce papers, or need assistance with any other family law matter, the experts at Hebert Law Offices can help you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

From our office in Worcester, we provide compassionate, aggressive, and award-winning legal representation to clients throughout Massachusetts, so they can move forward to a happy, new life.

Posted in: Divorce


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