Your spouse asks for a divorce, and you’re glad to see them go. You’ve also been thinking about a divorce, as it’s just clear that the relationship wasn’t working.
The companion that you don’t want to see go, however, is your family pet. Perhaps you and your spouse got married and then quickly bought a dog together, that you’ve raised since it was a puppy. Do you get to keep your pet if you split up?
Is it marital property?
In the example above, the dog was purchased by the couple, so it is marital property. But there are also cases where one person owns the pet before marriage. In a situation like this, it may be separate property. When that purchase was made and what funds were used both play a big role.
You can’t get a custody order
As a result of your dog being a type of property, however, the court is not going to give you a custody order. They are not going to look at this the same way they would divide up time with your children, even though you think of your pet as a part of the family.
As such, you and your ex may have to agree on how to divide assets. Your ex may be willing to take something else in exchange for allowing you to keep the dog. Your ex may also be open to some sort of arrangement where you trade time with the pet, and you can create this custody exchange schedule on your own if you would like. But it’s just important to understand how the court views your pet and why you and your ex would need to make this decision by yourselves.
When things like this do become a bit complicated, make sure you know about all the legal options at your disposal.