Summary in Divorce

Pets are loved but they not children, yet dogs and cats sometimes become a heated consideration in divorce negotiations.

Courts have held that pets -- dogs and cats -- are personal property, and that applicable principles about dividing personal property apply to the custody of a pet. If a court determines that an animal is marital property or property that may be awarded to one party or the other, it may consider "who would better care for the pet and who really had greater attachment to the pet."

This, however, is not the ’best interest of the animal’ standard, and courts have shied away from awarding visitation.

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#408: It is now very common to have a parenting plan or agreement signed and incorporated as part of the final divorce decree or judgment. This document outlines custody, visitation, and support issues as well as many child rearing issues like religion and disciplinary approaches.
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