Who gets the family pet following a divorce?
In most cases, pets are treated just like all other marital property because pets are considered personal property under state property laws. However, this traditional view is beginning to be challenged. Lawsuits are being filed challenging the longstanding view of the treatment of pets in divorce proceedings. Often, the spouse who did not receive the family pet as part of the divorce settlement, is seeking “visitation” or “custody” rights. Most courts are continuing to treat pets as personal property. Therefore, state legislation to establish new rights with respect to treatment of family pets in divorce proceedings is likely to become more common in the near future.